Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star

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Splash Star is my favorite season of Pretty Cure. I also believe it to be the best. And no, I’m not biased. There’s just something about Splash Star that makes it so good. So enjoyable and sincere. It’s so very similar to Futari Wa but at the same time the similarities make the differences that much more apparent as well. I don’t know why Toei decided to make Saki and Mai look almost exactly like Nagisa and Honoka, all I have to offer is baseless speculation, but in the end they aren’t Nagisa and Honoka. For better and worse that’s what’s important. Saki and Mai are their own people and Splash Star is its own season even as similar as it is. It’s essentially an improved version of Futari Wa that does 9 out of 10 things better than its predecessor and several new great things. It’s a wonderful show. At the same time that I say it’s its own thing however I must add that one should never watch Splash Star before Futari Wa. I implore everyone who wants to get into Pretty Cure to watch the seasons chronologically but it’s true that you could start almost anywhere if you wanted. But to truly appreciate Splash Star one needs to see Futari Wa first, you need to see the ideas and influences Splash Star takes from the first season and how it makes them its own. See how it changes things and uses the expectations someone would have from watching Futari Wa and twists them around.  Splash Star is a very smart and thoroughly well thought out show. More so than any other season.

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The first episode of Splash Star opens up with Saki throwing a strike during her softball practice. She shouts out her ultra-positive catchphrase (unlike Nagisa’s) but then a strange shadow passes over her as the scene then switches to Mai riding in her car with her family. Apparently she’s returning to this town after five years and her family is moving into their old home that also has an observatory built into it. As they drive by her brother points out a large tree at the top of a hill to her.

The opening theme song then plays and it’s so super energetic and filled with excitement. It’s probably the fastest paced opening of any season. It has nice pretty visuals and sweet lyrics. Really gets you swept up into the mood of the show right from the beginning. “Leave the power of excitement to us!” Quite right.

After her family gets to their house Mai decides to wander off into the forest going out to the big tree. This is the “Sky Tree” the largest tree in the town and also one of Saki’s favorite places. The two of them end up meeting there and they have a strange feeling that they may have met somewhere before as well. Suddenly two fairies drop from the tree.

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They’re from the Land of Fountains. Flappi the flower spirit and Choppi the bird spirit. They ask Saki and Mai to use their power to save the Land of Fountains. But then Saki’s little sister Minori comes by and Flappi and Choppi transform into little cell phone modes and hide themselves in Saki and Mai’s pockets. Saki and Minori then head back to where Saki lives, the bakery that her family owns, Panpakapan. I love that name. Panpakapan, Panpakapan. She talks with her father about wanting them to get a new car but her father says that it’s like a member of their family and…

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Apparently a lesson her father imparts often

This is a rather important part of Splash Star. It’s kind of Shinto-esque as well. There was something like it in Futari Wa with Pretty Cure being connected to all the life on the planet but there’s so much more meaning and importance to it in Splash Star. It comes back much more often and ties into multiple other big themes. Such as simply learning to appreciating things natural or otherwise.

The same shadow from the beginning of the episode reappears and Flappi asks Saki to take him back to Mai and Choppi. So they head back to the Sky Tree where Mai still is, they reminisce on why they seem so familiar to each other and Flappi and Choppi finally decide to remind them. 5 years ago the two met beneath the Sky Tree during the summer festival, they were guided by Flappi and Choppi (appearing as balls of light) and met up together. This incident is what drew them together and fated them to become Pretty Cure.

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The shadow reappears then and morphs into our first villain. Karehaan.

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A strange plant like monster. I instantly like him better than Pissard just for his design. An actual theme! It’s just so nice to see. Splash Star simply does its villains theming better than any other season, add to the fact that the larger themes of the world, story and Pretty Cure are amazingly well done and it just makes everything so much better. Karehaan also is a bit more intimidating in his first episode as well. There’s a more dangerous and yet at the same time calmer feeling in the first episode of Splash Star. Karehaan throws the fairies to the ground and brutalizes them as they try to protect Saki and Mai. He asks them where the Fountain of the Sun is but they say they don’t know and wouldn’t tell him.

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This works really well to develop a connection between the fairies and the girls instantly as well as a connection to the audience cause what they go through is pretty brutal by Pretty Cure standards for fairies. Seeing this cruel treatment Saki and Mai decide that they have to protect and save Flappi and Choppi and so Flappi and Choppi jump up and they transform into Pretty Cure together.

It’s a pretty beautiful transformation. I love the way the outfits “open up” midway through. Like a flower blooming and a bird opening its wings. Their cure forms are very stylish as well, I know some people dislike the designs in Splash Star but I think Bloom and Egret look great. The Shining Golden Flower Cure Bloom and the Sparkling Silver Wing Cure Egret. And like Nagisa Saki is quite incredulous at what has just happened.

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Aside from the nipples it’s a good design

Karehaan then creates the first Uzainaa of Splash Star out of a big tree. All of the Uzainaa a villain creates has something to do with their element, which is something I love, I love monsters of the week that have some kind of theme to them and a real idea behind them. Until Heartcatch’s Desertrians the Uzainaa were easily the best thought out monsters.

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And when the fighting actually starts we get to the first really big noticeable difference between Splash Star and Futari Wa. Spirit energy. Bloom and Egret fight with spiritual power like this, enhancing their attacks and protecting themselves. Most often they create shields like this that get bigger and stronger on certain occasions. It’s one of the most unique things about Splash Star and makes its action and fights really different from others. Bloom and Egret also come off as really strong and capable right from the beginning, they overpower the Uzainaa and knock it down while creating a huge shockwave as well. Which is also something great about Splash Star compared to Futari Wa. They really win the fights from the beginning.

Their attack Twin Stream Splash is also fairly different for Pretty Cure. It’s not an energy blast or anything but two jets of water they shoot out that envelops the enemy. It’s a true finisher attack as there’s no fighting back against it.

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The Uzainaa then blows apart into a bunch of tiny spirits that fix everything damaged, and whose color changes depending on the villain and what Fountain they’re from, and a Miracle Drop. This is also what makes Uzainaa really good, there’s a great sense of actually saving something important and helping these poor corrupted spirits. And they gain something important and necessary to the plot at the same time as well. The Miracle Drops are needed to restore the destroyed fountains. Karehaan retreats as well, mentioning that he needs to report this to Akudaikaan.

The next day Saki is in class and lo and behold they’re getting a new transfer student. Mai. We then get the very cute and sweet ending song (which frankly if I didn’t know better I would think was the theme song to a yuri anime, seriously just watch it) and the first episode ends. It’s a good first episode. I have the benefit of hindsight so I can see all the really good things about it in retrospect but it’s not an amazing first episode either. Not the best in the franchise but it still does everything well and gets things off on the right foot.

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The second episode introduces us to the villains and Dark Fall. Splash Star follows a pretty similar format to Futari Wa early on. We also get introduced to the little troll Gohyaan.

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Faux-politeness is his forte

And there’s really no one else quite like him in the franchise, later seasons would have someone occupy a sort of similar role (Kawarino in Yes5, Anacondy in GoGo, etc.) that act as an intermediary between the big villain and the other minions, but he’s still unique for many reasons. Gohyaan occupies his own niche. There’s certainly no one analogous to him in Futari Wa either. Every other villain except Akudaikaan hates him. And Akudaikaan doesn’t “like” him either. And for good reason. They disrespect him as he disrespects them all in return, chiding and criticizing and mocking them episode by episode. He’s the biggest asshole Pretty Cure has ever seen and he’s doing this in almost every episode. In fact he’s only absent from 4 episodes in the entire season. Also at this point we only get to see the flaming eyes of Akudaikaan (and a glowing purple flame on a pillar in the middle of the pool before him that grows bigger when he’s angry), which is kind of silly since there’s no big reveal on what he looks like or anything. They just don’t show him all for some reason. Anyways Akudaikaan confronts Karehaan for failing to get the fairies and the location of the Fountain of the Sun but Gohyaan mentions to him the legend of Pretty Cure so Akudaikaan just lets him go off as normal. Telling him to deal with them.

Meanwhile in the Land of Greenery (the fairies name for Earth this season) Saki is planning a welcome party for Mai. We’re also introduced to Kenta, who is voiced by Naruto and would next season become Cure Rouge, the most important side character from the school. At this point Saki and Mai are also still calling each other Mishou-san and Hyuuga-san. Saki goes out to talk to Mai about the party and Mai gets her to momentarily look out at the scenery in front of them, they live in a smaller seaside town as opposed to a big city which works really well for a multitude of reason in Splash Star, and try to appreciate the world. It’s little things like this that I love about Splash Star. Little moments in the episodes aiming to just make you calm and happy.

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Flappi and Choppi then decide to take the opportunity to tell them about everything that’s going on. The evil villains from Dark Fall are aiming to destroy the World Tree, which looks over all life, by destroying the seven fountains that feed it. So far all but the Fountain of the Sun have been destroyed. The Fountain of the Sun is hidden now in the Land of Greenery and the villains goals are to find it. Akudaikaan wishes to destroy all life.

In between this and the party Saki also feeds Choppi with the power of merchandising. Using the little cards he gave her to put into his toy cell phone mode things. This actually happens quite a bit in the early episodes, sort of annoying. We then get to Saki and her friends preparing the party, she and Kenta argue a lot and at this point I think it becomes apparent the different style of music Splash Star has. It has a different style and feeling to it from Futari Wa. More atmospheric and mood setting with more calming tracks as well and some really nice variations of the instrumental versions of the opening and ending songs.

Mai arrives a little early and Saki has her stay outside for a little bit as they set up, while there Mai starts drawing and gets so engrossed in it she doesn’t notice anything else going on. Which happens several more times with her.

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And Saki being the very cheerful and friendly person she is asks her to call her Saki and she’ll call her Mai. Already. No need for this silly formality. And there’s the other big early difference between Splash Star and Futari Wa. These two have a special connection from even before the season began and get along much better much quicker. They’re already super good friends by the time this episode ends.

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Karehaan comes back then. And unlike Pissard shows that he has humor to him when jokingly asking them to call him Karecchi. He asks them where the fountain is but they tell him they don’t know. He doesn’t believe them or really seem to care anyways and they fight. This fight is used mainly to get Bloom and Egret used to their powers. When Karehaan starts talking to them Bloom mentions how she honestly just doesn’t give a shit about him or what he wants, a pretty common trend in earlier seasons, and just wants to stomp him flat for making her mad and messing with stuff important to her. No really higher morals or ideas at work here. Cures just don’t bother with villains shit.

As Splash Star does often this fight is more about awesome stuff happening than fast-paced well choreographed action. Like really, they pick up the Uzainaa and throw it across the entire city into the ocean and then jump after it. It’s awesome and I enjoy it just as much as the good hand to hand stuff that Heartcatch has.

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Bloom and Egret are just super tough and durable too and land without any problem. Shortly later they dispatch the Uzainaa and Karehaan retreats. The two return to the party and promise to become great friends. The first two episodes are the prologue of Splash Star basically. The most important plot information has been brought up and the most important characters have appeared. However the entire first 13 episodes are essentially one really long prologue before the show really starts. This is like the prologue of the prologue. They all work to set things up and flesh the world and characters out before the main event comes.

Episodes 3 and 4 then are about Saki and Mai’s hobbies and clubs. 3 is Saki and her softball and now we enter the extended prologue.

Akudaikaan doesn’t know anything about Pretty Cure so Gohyaan is filling him in while also wondering if Karehaan has what it takes to defeat them.  In the Land of Greenery Saki and her team is preparing for the first match of the district finals. While watching them practice Mai is also intently drawing all of them.

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Like Nagisa, Saki is the ace of her team and their pitcher. The teams first game is against a strong team and while everyone else is discouraged by this Saki is actually happy and positive about this. Her teammates muse on how she’s always a really optimistic person. At home we get some scenes with her family and it’s here that we really see that she gets along very well with her little sister. Minori in turn absolutely adores Saki. It’s cute.

Saki is also a tree lover.

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She likes to go to the Sky Tree and hug and talk to it. It calms her down and makes her feel refreshed before important things like this game. Unfortunately the game doesn’t go very well at the beginning but Mai figures out what’s wrong, she shows them her drawings and they see how they’ve been playing much stiffer and not nearly as well than when they played in practice. As they’re getting ready to fix this and play on Karehaan comes in and attacks. Saki refers to him as Curry-pan (Curry bread). Probably intentionally considering how she acts with another villain down the road. Anyways he makes an Uzainaa out of a baseball bat and Bloom and Egret are almost beaten but they’re able to reach other and hold hands to draw out the most power possible and they blast the Uzainaa and Karehaan away. Then using the info from Mai’s drawing the softball team is able to win their game.

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Episode 4 then is about Mai and her art. A girl wants Mai to join the art club but Mai is apprehensive, unlike Saki who actually accepts for her before realizing what she’s doing, she just likes to draw but something like a club wasn’t in her mind before and she has trouble drawing something with a set theme to it. She can’t just draw whatever she needs to be inspired.

Also we get to fully see what Akudaikaan looks like.

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A big, shadowy, evil looking Shogun guy

I like the design. He’s also angry with Karehaan’s poor progress. But Karehaan says he’s found Pretty Cure’s weak point and now goes out to defeat them. Gohyaan also continues to be a dick.

So the other girl convinces Mai to draw something for a special exhibit, the theme is “the scenery of spring”. and her brother and parents are completely useless when she asks them for ideas and what they think of the theme. Answers she gets from them are: Frogs, digging up roots, and astronomy. Mai goes to talk with Saki and as they discuss it Flappi mentions that romance is what he thinks of when she brings up the theme, and we learn that Flappi is in love with Choppi but doesn’t have the courage to tell her and she’s too oblivious to figure it out herself. Mai and Saki decide to go out and travel around in the forests of the town and they come across a cabbage farm, Mai likes it and starts to draw. Saki then hears some cicadas and goes off to see them, which is all part of Karehaan’s plan to separate the two of them. Meanwhile Mai meets the old lady who works at the farm and helps her out. Karehaan then confronts Saki and chases her around while the cicadas swarm over to where Mai is and combine into one giant Uzainaa. Saki does manage to give him the slip though because she knows the forest well and she meets back up with Mai and they transform. As a note the reason why Karehaan is able to make a cicada Uzainaa is because they’re attracted to tree sap and thus connected to trees and plants as well. We also get a kind of funny moment as Saki calls out Karehaan for his stupid behavior. The fight is kind of cool but has some floatiness as well which detracts from it. Something which happens repeatedly in Splash Star unfortunately.

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At the end of the episode we see that Mai painted the smiling face of the old lady because she was enraptured by it. She didn’t win first prize because it wasn’t really spring themed but she followed her style and way of art. It turns out that the old lady was also the grandmother of the student who wanted Mai to join the art club and Mai decides to join in the end.

Episodes 5 and 6 are then about the family members of Saki and Mai and Kenta who I already said is the most important character from the school.

Episode 5 is the more formal introduction of Mai’s older brother Kazuya who Saki pretty much instantly crushes on. She runs into him on her way to school.

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This girl also used to think clouds were made out of cotton candy

After Saki is late getting to school we also learn how Kenta is the reigning king of comedy in Japan.

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Eventually I honestly find him funny because of how unfunny he is. Anyways because Saki was late due to meeting Kazuya Mai offers to help her with all the extra homework her teacher gave her as punishment. As a side note her teacher is also the softball coach. So Saki goes over to Mai’s house and she learns that Kazuya is Mai’s brother, he’s a second year in high school and three years older than her. Kazuya lends Saki a book after she accidentally acts interested in it “Interplanetary Matter and the History of the Solar System”. Just right up her alley. She heads home and meets Kenta there and starts gushing about Kazuya to him and then he accidentally spills tea on the book and she gets super pissed at him.

While in Dark Fall Karehaan is worried about reporting to Akudaikaan because he keeps failing so Gohyaan just pesters and belittles him until he leaves to go fight again. Always the charmer that Gohyaan.

To make up with Saki Kenta goes out through the town looking for a bookstore that has a fresh copy of Kazuya’s book, Saki sees him doing this and forgives him, knowing he didn’t really do it on purpose anyways. Mai meets up with them and they go into a used bookstore but Karehaan is there and attacks them. It’s another kind of cool but floaty fight. At the end Saki and Kenta apologize for the book but Kazuya doesn’t mind since the stain isn’t too bad and he can read it just fine. I like Kazuya so much more than Fujipi. For several reasons. One being that he has less screen time and episodes revolving around him/Saki’s like of him so you don’t really expect much from the crush Saki has on him in the first place, there’s no dashed expectations about a relationship that could’ve been but wasn’t. Secondly that because the age difference is much bigger Saki’s crush is more just like a cutesy thing rather than anything that could develop into a serious relationship and I like this much more since Kazuya is always portrayed as just that “cool older brother” type without much more to him. So the way Splash Star does this with Saki as just a young girls first crush is sweet. And third unlike with Fujipi there’s nothing really wasted with the crush and Kazuya’s existence. Fujipi just absorbs too much screen time for nothing gained. That doesn’t happen with Kazuya. He even manages to just get some nice scenes and things in general without the crush ever becoming an overbearing presence.

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Episode 6 is a joint episode with Minori as well as the parents of both families. Mai’s family invites Saki to come on an outing with them and they decide to invite Minori along as well. Flappi and Choppi are also happy about this since the lake they go to reminds them of the Land of Fountains where they lived. In Dark Fall Akudaikaan chides Karehaan for his failures and tells him that he has one last chance. While on the outing Saki thinks Mai’s dad is really cool but he thinks that Saki’s dad is cool and that Saki and Minori just take him for granted because they’re always around each other. Mai also gets Saki to appreciate how they’re always together since her parents are often busy and away. Mai’s dad though also mentions that Panpakapan has been approached with an offer to become a franchise.

As everyone is hanging out on the lake Karehaan attacks and makes his Uzainaa out of plants in the water. I’d like to mention that by this time it’s become apparent that a lot of Uzainaa have some sort of ranged attack where they will shoot or spit out a volley of something, gives Splash Star more opportunities to show off the shields. Action is still kind of stiff sadly but it’s also obvious by this point that Karehaan and his Uzainaa are no match for Bloom and Egret and they drive him off easily. Flappi and Choppi also this episode mention Princess Filia for the first time, the sovereign of the Land of Fountains and Splash Star’s analogue to the Queen of Light.

When Saki and Minori get home from the trip they see that Saki’s parents have refused the offer to turn Panpakapan into a big business. They want to just stay in the town they love and be together as a family. This makes Saki very happy.

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Episode 7 opens with Flappi and Choppi no longer able to contain the power of the Miracle Drops they’ve been getting with each Uzainaa defeat. They need to find the Fairy Carafe.

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Here’s Saki and Minori being cute just for fun

And it turns out it wasn’t actually Karehaan’s last chance. BUT NOW IT IS. Gohyaan goads him into attacking Pretty Cure today.

Flappi and Choppi tell Saki and Mai about the Carafe, it’s the thing that can return the Miracle Drops to the various fountains they’re from and restore them. Which will also power up Pretty Cure because the power of the spirits will grow stronger with it. All they know about it though is that Princess Filia hid it somewhere in the Land of Greenery, but as they go over this the 6 Miracle Drops act up and show where the Carafe is.

Karehaan however is very stressed at this point. He confronts Saki and Mai and fuses himself with his Uzainaa becoming a dark, twisted tree monster.

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He can also suck up their spiritual power now which means they can’t use their shields to defend themselves and he starts to knock them around. He then fully unleashes his Power of Destruction, it completely withers all the forestry around him (reminding Flappi and Choppi of what happened to their home and also insinuating that other fairies like them were killed by it) and continues to expand towards the city. Seeing this Bloom and Egret worry about their families and this works really well because their family members have already been well developed by this point so it’s actually a pretty tense fight and draws out good emotion. Also the scene of destruction with Karehaan’s power is just pretty cool in general and Splash Star would thankfully do this multiple times.

But knowing their loved ones and everyone are in danger Bloom and Egret pull out more power than ever before (Saki even basically calls Karehaan’s life worthless out of anger), stopping his wave of destruction cold, completely overloading Karehaan’s power sucking and blowing his Uzainaa’s arms apart. They then hit him with Twin Stream Splash and defeat him. But then as they detransform he comes flying at them from the sky and-

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Blows up into a pile of leaves. The power of Pretty Cure had completely purified the Power of Destruction and he returns to his original form of leaves. This is very important later on. And it’s another thing that works really well with the themes and focus on the natural world in Splash Star, having this be the base forms of the villains instead of them just representing a certain element.

With the 7 Miracle Drops the Fairy Carafe then appears.

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It’s a blender.

So the new Blender of Power activates when they put the Miracle Drops in and they all get transported to the Fountain of Trees, where the Carafe then smashes into Saki’s stomach. It’s a really pretty scene when they use the Carafe and the fountain returns to normal and all the little spirits gather there again.

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We then get to see a brief image of Princess Filia. She appears in a translucent state and disappears just as quickly, she doesn’t yet have enough power to communicate with Pretty Cure yet. They then get returned to the Land of Greenery and appear outside the Sky Tree, which must have some sort of special connection to the Land of Fountains…

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That’s the end of the first arc of Splash Star. Splash Star is a very structured and well paced season, cleanly divided into different villains arcs. Every seven episodes or so we get a big important climactic battle and then a fountain is revived. It’s very nice after the meandering randomness of Max Heart and the second half of Futari Wa. Overall for the franchise it’s one of the few to be very structured like this, that has something genuinely important happen on a regular basis to make it feel like things are always moving. Which is further helped along by the Miracle Drops existence. Always needing 7 to revive a fountain and gaining one nearly every episode. The final fights against the villains are usually very good and satisfying as well.

The first two episodes got the big necessary stuff out of the way, the formation of Pretty Cure and who the villains are, and the rest of Karehaan’s arc was spent with the next most important things as well as giving us our first glimpse of what Pretty Cure can accomplish if they keep winning.

So now it’s time to go over some important things like the themes in Splash Star and the special atmosphere it has. While being a very fun show that has plenty of excitement and comedy it’s also not as wacky and hyper in the same way seasons like Fresh and Smile can be. It’s more relaxed in its approach. Splash Star a lot of the time will do something to just get you to feel calm and happy, the characters will be relaxing and looking up at the beautiful sky tree, or walking through a flower garden, or down at the beach, it aims to make you feel good in a quiet and subdued way. It honestly a lot of the time feels like Pretty Cure with a dash of Iyashikei mixed in and it’s the only season to have this type of feeling. The beautiful music also fits this approach perfectly. Another reason it does this is because Splash Star’s themes are really big on nature and the world around us. The seven fountains are trees, fire, earth, sky, water, metal and sun. And Splash Star wants you to appreciate the natural beauty of the world and the value of life and everything around you. This also works with the villains who all follow elemental themes tying into the fountains they watch over. And the Uzainaa they create. Akudaikaan as the main villain and leader of Dark Fall then also symbolizes death and destruction (while also having some lightning theming just for fun). And of course the names of Cure Bloom and Egret ,and then later on Bright and Windy, also all work as part of the theme of the natural world. Flowers and birds, earth and sky. The names Saki and Mai also are used to relate to flowers and birds as well. Saki is “to bloom”, Mai’s last name Mishou partially means “to soar” and her first name is “to dance” like a bird. And the minor villains have names that relate to their element in some way as well, Karehaan is dried leaves for example.

Pretty Cure draw their power from the power of the spirits that exist in everything, primarily the land and the sky, and it just from the very beginning makes the theme of the value of life and importance of the world so much better. From the get go this is a major part of the show and part of why Splash Star does this kind of stuff a lot better than other seasons. Because of how much better the themes are conveyed and tie into absolutely everything together, when the villains actually make speeches they’re so much more enticing and actually draw out an emotional reaction unlike when it would happen in Futari Wa.

Another thing to mention with the Uzainaa is that they are very simplified compared to the use of the Zakenna, which were used in a multitude of different ways in Futari Wa, following monsters of the week in later seasons would be the same way. Seeing them used to create anything other than a generic monster is a rarity. So Splash Star really started a simplified use of them.

Now let’s talk about the action. It’s not exceptionally good but it’s enjoyable. The way the fights go is fun to watch, the style of the action makes them fun. And what’s really great about Splash Star compared to Futari Wa is that Bloom and Egret always just straight up win their fights. Nothing contrived happens to get them the win or anything they just beat down their opponents. Bloom and Egret come off as really strong, stronger than the villains they’re fighting at the beginning, and it’s so satisfying to see them win fights like this. It’s no longer “Nothing’s working, time to use Marble Screw!” it’s “Alright, we’ve knocked him down, time to finish him off!”. And it’s just so much better. Another thing to mention is that the animation is generally better in Splash Star. Splash Star has very consistent animation and there are few times when it ever looks bad or particularly off-model. But as a trade it has very few exceptionally good looking episodes or moments. And there’s sadly a lot of stiffness and choppiness in several fights. But outside of the action the animation and art is very bright and vibrant. It’s a pretty show. As for the music in the fights that’s one of the things Splash Star does not have over Futari Wa. Splash Star’s battle music is fairly lacking, especially early on, there’s a couple good tracks but nothing amazing. Sadly though as another kind of negative thing is that the minions don’t often fight directly up close. Aside from a certain awesome someone later on.

Nothing amazing is a pretty good way to describe early Splash Star in general. The first 7 episodes are good but nothing great has happened so far. It’s a solid start but the true meat of the season hasn’t arrived yet. Saki and Mai as characters as well are kind of like less extreme versions of Nagisa and Honoka. Saki even argues with Flappi just not as vitriolically as Nagisa and Mepple. Mai is a little odd but more “head in the clouds” than weird like Honoka and Saki is more absent-minded then generally stupid like Nagisa. Saki is a much more positive and nice person than Nagisa as well but can still get angry and sad too. Mai is smart but not a genius and more reserved and passive than Honoka. And the relationship between Saki and Mai does not develop like Nagisa and Honoka. From the beginning the two of them are super close. And that’s really the only major thing Futari Wa does better than Splash Star. The relationship of Saki and Mai is cute but there’s no big story with it and nothing to see grow or change. Nagisa and Honoka’s relationship is more dynamic and fun to watch, the chemistry can’t be matched by Saki and Mai.

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Minori is super cute by the way

So after saying all that episode 8 then brings us to the start of Moerumba’s arc. This episode is used for a couple different things, mainly on Minori’s relation with Saki and Mai. Although it at first acts like it’s trying to do the same thing episode 8 of Futari Wa did, with Nagisa and Honoka having their argument and disagreement with each other. But the “argument” here is really a completely different kind of thing and more like a misunderstanding. Mai comes over to Saki’s and shows her a new drawing, Minori likes it but while she’s horsing around she accidentally spills juice on it. This makes Saki really mad at her and when Mai tries to intercede on Minori’s behalf Saki lashes out at her as well. Things get kind of awkward then.

In Dark Fall Akudaikaan is also pissed off at Gohyaan for Karehaan dying and one of the fountains being restored. But Gohyaan doesn’t fret too much and a new flaming villain then sets out to the Land of Greenery.

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Flaming has several meanings

He likes to randomly use Spanish a lot too. Saki and Mai are thinking about how to apologize to each other, Saki is mistaken about what Mai is worried over though, and after school Minori meets up with Mai and the two of them talk together at a playground. Mai tells her how when she was young she broke Kazuya’s telescope and he got really angry so she knows how Minori is feeling. Minori just loves her big sister so much so when Saki got so angry at her it just makes her really sad to think that her sister might hate her. But Mai knows that’s not it.

Moerumba shows up and ends up making a giant Uzainaa out of a horse toy at the playground. That also spits fire and almost carelessly crushes him.

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Saki shows up at the playground and the two of them transform together but as Bloom and Egret their powers wont work properly because they’ve got some unresolved tension between them. Mai tells Saki that she wasn’t upset at Saki lashing out at her but just wanted her to be aware of Minori’s feelings. The two of them reconcile and beat the Uzainaa down. At the end of the episode Mai then draws Saki and Minori together. And I’ll just take the time to say here that Minori is the best sibling of a Cure in any season. She has lots of great scenes and some really cute relationships with some of the other main characters.

Next episode is used to introduce and develop two of the other classmates Saki and Mai have. The two class representatives Miyasako and Andou. Miyasako is shy and nervous while Andou is more assertive. Saki and Mai see Andou at the library reading to kids and she later is going to put on a puppet show for them. Saki and Mai help her out with this and then Saki also gets Miyasako to help. Andou knows Miyasako well and thinks he’s a good person who’d be an excellent class rep if he had a little more confidence.

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Saki uses her feminine wiles to get Miyasako’s help

Moerumba meanwhile doesn’t really seem to care about any doubts Gohyaan may have about him defeating Pretty Cure and finding the Fountain of the Sun. Moerumba always is rather carefree. And he’s just a really fun, silly, and weird villain to watch in general. And stupid. Can’t forget that. He goes to fight Pretty Cure and creates an Uzainaa out of a street lamp and some street lights but Bloom and Egret defeat it and make sure the puppet show goes off without a hitch as Miyasako and Andou work together on it. Miyasako quite clearly has a crush on Andou and this whole incident has helped his confidence issues a little bit.

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Next episode has Moerumba claim to Gohyaan and Akudaikaan that only now is he getting serious. And he promises to get the fountain back. Sure. At school Saki’s class is split into groups and assigned a research project on people who work in the town. Saki doesn’t want to just use her family so they think about someone else.

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They end up picking Kenta’s family who own a boat rental shop and his dad takes them out to go fishing. Father and son share more than a few similarities. Kenta’s dad Kengo is a slightly recurring character, he’ll be back in a couple other episodes. While they go out fishing Saki gets seasick but then eating actually makes her feel better. As expected of her. Unfortunately no one is catching any fish and the weather starts to turn bad, turns out it’s Moerumba’s fault.

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He creates an Uzainaa by sending a fireball down to the ocean floor and dragging up some corrupted sea life with it. The storm caused the atmosphere to grow unstable creating static electricity and allowing him to use his powers this way. After they beat him the weather clears up and the fishing resumes with them actually being able to catch something now.

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Episodes 11 and 12 are episodes revolving around Flappi and Choppi. Being used to develop them and the bonds they have with Saki and Mai. Episode 11 is about Choppi. It’s very similar to the episode in Futari Wa where Mepple was sick but I find this one much better. Saki wakes up late because here alarm somehow got switched off, she thinks it’s Flappi’s fault because he was on top of the alarm when she finally got up. Flappi isn’t feeling well but Saki doesn’t listen to him because she’s mad and takes him along to school anyways. Thankfully though she realizes that she was being unfair and mean to him pretty quickly and tries to make up.

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And in Dark Fall Moerumba is being an idiot and really starting to get on the nerves of Gohyaan and Akudaikaan. Yet he still doesn’t care at all.

When she gets home Saki sees that Flappi is actually legitimately sick and nurses him back to health. The two reminisce on what they’ve been through since meeting and Flappi admits he’s stressed due to having to live in a strange new world. Saki comforts him and tells him a story of how upset she was when she first started elementary school. It’s a touching and sweet episode. Later when all four of them are at the beach Moerumba comes and attacks. Fulfilling his prerequisite fight at the beach that all villains must do at least once.

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He makes an Uzainaa from a barbecue and all the leftover seafood on it, it’s pretty big and it’s cool to see Bloom and Egret knock the shit out of it. What’s funny is that right before this Moerumba had Flappi and Choppi in his grasp and was interrogating them, but being the idiot that he is instead of keeping them so Saki and Mai can’t transform he throws them into the ocean and Saki just runs right by him and rescues them.  Excellent work Moerumba.

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At the end of the episode Saki gets sick and now Flappi has to nurse her back to health too. And we then learn that it was actually Saki’s big fat cat Korone that knocked Flappi onto the alarm in the first place. And just look at him, he’s so fat. This is a good bonding episode, the action and villain are superior to when Futari Wa did it even if it has the same general plot outline. And them helping each other out when sick is really sweet.

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So episode 12 is of course about Choppi. But first we have Akudaikaan telling Moerumba, who is still not taking anything seriously, that this is his final chance. Mai’s art club is doing an assignment where the theme is “Scenery that has an impression on you” and again Mai has trouble with something like this. Choppi at the same time is acting distracted and down, when the two of them walk down the street they look out across the ocean at sunset and it reminds Choppi of her home.Choppi really misses living in the Land of Fountains. The next morning Choppi is missing, she ran off somewhere. The girls and Flappi first look at the Sky Tree but she isn’t there. They find her looking out over the ocean, reminiscence about her life in the Land of Fountains, but Moerumba appears and makes an Uzainaa out of oil and captures her. Again.

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He then gets tricked by Saki. Yes, that’s right. Saki outsmarts someone. It’s the oldest trick in the book too and even the Uzainaa knows how dumb he is. The girls transform and then fight him off. Moerumba. You win the most incompetent villain of the season award.

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Choppi opens up to Mai and Saki after this about what she’s feeling. And now the four of them are even closer. Looking out at the ocean again Mai finds herself inspired and makes a drawing of the Land of Fountains for her club. And now this brings us to episode 13, Moerumba’s final episode.

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This episode sucks. The best part of it is Gohyaan riffing on Moerumba. Apparently just like with Karehaan last episode wasn’t really his last chance. But Akudaikaan has fully given up on him and even after Moerumba begs for a final chance to fight Akudaikaan just lets Gohyaan get the next villain ready, knowing full well that Moerumba is beyond useless.

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I really like these close ups we get of his flaming eyes

Saki has gotten a 40 on a test because all she did was cram the night before. We have a dumb moral of the week this episode with “slow and steady wins the race” and the tortoise and the hare being brought up repeatedly. It’s a very weak moral of the week that doesn’t really have any importance after the episode. Unlike other times where Splash Star will actually introduce some new lesson or moral or idea in an episode that ends up being used later and is very important. Also have a character of the week who is never seen again.  A glass sculptor.

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Moerumba comes in and makes two Uzainaa at once, not realizing how dumb it is for him to divide his power, and the fight is complete garbage. Very stiff, slow, and choppy. It’s such a terrible final fight for any villain. There’s nothing remotely cool in it like what happened in Karehaan’s final fight either. He’s quickly killed by Twin Stream Splash and turns into ash. The girls then go to the Fountain of Fire and revive it since Moerumba did them the favor of giving them two Miracle Drops at once. Filia appears again and mouths some words this time but there isn’t enough power for the girls and fairies to actually hear her and they get quickly transported back to the Sky Tree by the Carafe. The glass artist has made a sculpture of Moerumba but it quickly melts, showing he’s returned to his original form of fire. I don’t really get why that happens though still…

That’s the end of Moerumba and the long extended prologue of Splash Star. The first 13 episodes work on a decaying level of importance, Moerumba’s arc developed bonds between established characters and introduced some minorly important ones before finishing. Minori, Saki and Mai’s relationship was developed and strengthened as was the fairies relationships with Pretty Cure. New school students got introduced and will later on appear again and have their own small stories to get through. Kenta’s life and character was expanded upon and his crush on Saki was made more evident. Splash Star works very purposefully and never wastes time while at the same time never going overly-complicated and forgetting what it is. It’s pacing is so perfect and every episode besides episode 13 is quite enjoyable and good.

Much like Futari Wa now the third arc is when things really start to get better. Of course since Splash Star was already good this is even better news.

Episode 14 opens with Saki and Mai at the Sky Tree. Saki is trying to use the magical blender to see if they can go back to the Land of Fountains but it seems impossible. They need Miracle Drops to use it like that. Mai says the Sky Tree has been seen as the areas guardian spirit for a really long time, her mom researched it, and Saki mentions how she’s heard stories about how if you pray under it your wish will come true as well as-

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And then two strange girls appear called Michiru and Kaoru and talk with them about the Sky Tree briefly. Michiru thinks it sounds kind of interesting but Kaoru couldn’t care less and thinks it’s all just foolish. The next day it turns out that the two mysterious new girls have transferred into their class. Pretty much just like what happened with Kiriya in Futari Wa.

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“I hate it when people are laughing and having fun” – Actual quote

In Dark Fall though Akudaikaan is once again understandably pissed so Gohyaan calls on Dorodoron. Some weird burrowing earth themed spider guy. Who is very soft-spoken and also kind of looks like a clown.

Back in class Michiru and Kaoru are the centers of attention but don’t really care. The two of them talk to Saki and Mai some more and Kaoru is basically emotionless. Michiru pretty much always takes the lead while talking but is also just “cold” very often. Like Kiriya the two of them are both very smart and good at sports. However their social awkwardness gets them into a little argument with Hitomi, another classmate and member of Saki’s softball team. So much of this is reminiscent of thins that happened with Kiriya but honestly right from the beginning I find Splash Star’s handling of everything much better. Michiru and Kaoru really just don’t get what they’re doing and they don’t suddenly change in one episode after no real development. Mai later tries to explain to them about why Hitomi got angry and why Mai even cares in the first place and what being friends means but Choppi and Flappi sense Dorodoron’s presence and they have to leave.

Dorodoron makes an Uzainaa out of the flower bed and attempts to attack the school but Bloom and Egret dispatch him quick enough. It’s funny how they’re just so much stronger than the first few villains. Later Saki, Mai and Hitomi start to eat lunch with Michiru and Kaoru and share some of their food with them after they see that they haven’t brought any lunch themselves.

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In Dark Fall Gohyaan tells Akudaikaan that Michiru and Kaoru have left their Fountain and gone to the Land of Greenery but Akudaikaan doesn’t care. He wants to see what they’ll do now. And Dorodoron is pissed off at them being there because he doesn’t want them to steal the credit of defeating Pretty Cure from him. All the villains in Splash Star hate each other. They all love and are so intensely devoted to Akudaikaan so much that they can’t stand anyone else having his favor. One of the other reasons why Gohyaan is so reviled by all of them. The villains really have some great chemistry and banter with each other as well.

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Episode 15 is about Saki and her mother and the bond between them created by softball. Saki almost forgets to take her glove with her to school that she needs for practice and Minori mentions how she wants to play softball too but their mother says she isn’t old enough yet. She then reminisces briefly about when Saki first started to play.

And Gohyaan appears in the Land of Greenery for the first time to reprimand Michiru and Kaoru but the two of them just ignore him. They then give Dorodoron a plan to defeat Pretty Cure, telling him that if he just attacks directly like Karehaan and Moerumba he’ll never win. They tell him that Saki and Mai can be weakened by destroying their confidence in their hobbies, art for Mai and softball for Saki, Dorodoron thinks this is a great idea and creates a small Uzainaa that hides itself in Saki’s glove and causes all her pitches to go off course. This is problematic with a big game coming up soon.

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Saki tries some extra practice after school but still gets screwed up by the Uzainaa. She doesn’t know what’s wrong and gets really frustrated. People rely on her a lot and later that night she has a dream where she fails horribly in a big game. She wakes up in the middle of the night and sees her mom cooking bread. Her mom is trying to come up with new types of bread to sell but it isn’t working out yet. She can also tell that Saki’s upset about something and the two of them talk about softball together.

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Saki’s mom reminds her of all the trouble she had when she first started out. Saki got upset and wanted to use her mothers glove to throw better but her hands were too small for that. But not anymore. Saki’s mom gives her her old glove and reassures her to try her best.

As Saki and Mai head out to the softball match Dorodoron confronts them. He asks Saki to put on her normal glove but she repeatedly refuses and he ends up revealing that he messed with it and just decides to fight them straight up instead by making the tiny rock Uzainaa grow giant. His plan of course fails completely because now Saki knows everything was just his fault and she had Mai and her mom to comfort her anyways. After they beat Dorodoron Michiru and Kaoru decide they need to watch over Pretty Cure more because of the power they just displayed. Saki then goes on to win the softball game for her team. This episode is so very sweet.

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The next episode starts with Kenta watching Saki practice. Seeing her work so hard has him down because he overheard his parents talking about something and thinks that they want him to take over the family business. But he has his own dream of being a comedian. He talks with Saki and Mai about it and Mai mentions how Kazuya wants to be an astronaut. Meanwhile all this talk of dreams just has Michiru and Kaoru plain confused. The girls and Kenta decide to talk to Kazuya about his dream and he says the most important part about it is never giving up and always moving towards it even if it’s difficult. Kenta though is still really down after this and says he’s giving up on his dream.

Saki talks to Michiru and Kaoru and asks them about their dreams. Kaoru almost flat out tells Saki that her dream is to destroy the world but Michiru catches her. Dorodoron then asks the two of them to stay out of his business for this episode and gets ready to fight.

As opposed to Kenta now Mai and Saki are working extra hard on their art and softball practice after hearing Kazuya’s opinion yesterday. Kenta watches over Saki’s practice and gets spurred on to follow his dream again. Dorodoron then comes in at the end of Saki’s practice when she’s tired from running around, despite coming off as pretty stupid Dorodoron is actually smarter than either Moerumba or Karehaan at least. The fight has some better animation than average too, he created an Uzainaa out of underground pipes that shoots mud at Pretty Cure.

At the end of the episode Kenta learns that his parents were talking about going on a trip and just leaving him to watch over the store while they’re gone. They don’t have any plans to interfere with his dream. The next day Kenta is out in front of the school looking for people to recruit into his comedy club. This episode is a good example of how a theme or idea of an episode can be important and meaningful later. The pondering of dreams has its place in Michiru and Kaoru’s development arc. Next episode works in a similar way.

Episode 17 has Saki getting a cooking lesson at Mai’s house. Mai’s mom meanwhile has been working on a paper for an archaeological excavation for the past 3 days and hasn’t gotten any sleep. She has with her a Haniwa that was found under the Sky Tree but later Choppi accidentally breaks it. Mai of course has to take the blame but feels really responsible for it herself anyways.

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Mai and Choppi are both upset the next day. Michiru and Kaoru are wandering around and contemplating about how Pretty Cure are stronger when they’re emotionally invested in something and then come across Mai and Saki.  Kaoru makes Mai mad at her by dismissing the importance of the Haniwa and her mothers feelings. Prompting Mai to ask them the above. She asks if there’s anything they’d be upset over to see broken. Michiru and Kaoru wonder about what’s precious to them but can’t think of anything. They can only think of what Akudaikaan wants but not what they themselves wish for. This episode also has Kaoru growing in her development more than Michiru, she’s the one who seems most affected by Mai’s questioning. Kaoru was such a blank slate that something like this really makes her think hard about what she feels and what’s inside of her. While Michiru is somewhat less interested and more satisfied with just being Akudaikaan’s servant.

Flappi and Choppi go out to the Sky Tree to look for another Haniwa but Dorodoron just starts to chase them through the forest. The fight is pretty uneventful and he’s soon defeated. At the end of the episode Mai’s mother shows Mai how she’s been putting the Haniwa back together, she loves recreating old things and learning about them, and she knows Mai cares about the Haniwa and her feelings just as much.

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At the start of next episode Michiru and Kaoru are admiring the Land of Greenery. Specifically the moon and the wind. Gohyaan comes by to question them about their loyalty to Akudaikaan and friendly relationship to Pretty Cure. They almost end up fighting each other but Gohyaan backs away after telling them to make sure not to disobey Akudaikaan.

Panpakapan is having an anniversary sale and Mai offers to help out at the store. Saki also invites Michiru and Kaoru to drop by. During the sale Minori is sad that she can’t do anything and is just being ignored, so when Michiru and Kaoru come by Saki recruits Michiru to help her out in the store and tells Kaoru to keep Minori company outside. It’s a cute episode. Kaoru tells Minori not to be upset that she’s being told she can’t help out, she isn’t capable of doing the same things as everyone else right now cause of her age and size just like Kaoru says she can’t do everything Michiru can like talk normally to people and help the customers. Kaoru talks frankly to her and tells her to think about what she can do. Minori sees an old man and helps get bread with him and afterwards goes and hugs a very surprised Kaoru. Minori likes Kaoru a lot now for not treating her like a child and talking to her normally.

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Michiru is impressed with Saki too over how positive she is and how she handles people so sincerely and easily. After talking with each other Michiru and Kaoru realize they feel happy after helping out and being thanked.

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Dorodoron then comes in at the beach to attack. Creating an Uzainaa out of the big gourd shaped rock close by in the ocean (Michiru and Kaoru spend a fair amount of time hanging out at this rock). He has also laid a trap for Bloom and Egret with his spiderwebs and has them caught and kept away from each other in them. They can’t reach other to hold hands and fight with full power now. It’s funny to think that Dorodoron comes the closest to defeating Pretty Cure out of any of the minions.

But Michiru and Kaoru are watching and think about Saki and Mai and what they’ve been through today, they shoot out small blasts of dark power to cut the string and unbalance the Uzainaa, giving Pretty Cure the chance to defeat it. At the end of the episode Minori is going on about how much she likes Kaoru and wants to hang out with her more, while Kaoru is still much more worried about her feelings and what’s happening now.

Episode 19 is a heavy merchandising episode. And while it’s so very obtuse and direct about it it’s actually pretty much the best way they could do a merchandising episode since it expands on a theme of the spirits answering strong feelings and wishes and sets a foundation for certain other plot events that happen in the far future. The spirits reacting to Saki and Mai’s feelings this episode isn’t exactly foreshadowing per se but still makes several events makes a lot more sense. Saki’s dad also imparts his wisdom of “everything has a life inside of it” again and tells Saki and Minori to treasure and take care of their things.

Dorodoron is complaining to Gohyaan about how he would’ve won if his threads didn’t mysteriously break and Gohyaan questions Michiru and Kaoru about it but they feign ignorance. To prove themselves they decide to go and deal with Pretty Cure, much to Dorodoron’s objections. They decide to create turmoil in Saki and Mai’s hearts to weaken them, first they make Saki’s glove and Mai’s sketchbook disappear and then lie to them about the other one ditching them when they were supposed to meet up. At the same time though they tell Saki and Mai that the other supposedly lost something important to them, so that night the two of them are thinking about each other and some random new spirits come in and change their old normal pencil cases into new super duper Pretty Cure style ones. Almost the exact same thing happened in Futari Wa. Anyways Saki and Mai write their wishes down on special paper things in the pencil cases.

And Dorodoron attacks. Yeah, he didn’t like Michiru and Kaoru moving in so he attacks them directly instead.

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The Uzainaa he makes is really similar to the one from episode 16. Guess they were running out of ideas. There’s another one later on that is basically the same as these two as well. But it turns out there isn’t any turmoil in Saki and Mai’s hearts at all, in fact they feel even stronger and creat an even better barrier than before. The Uzainaa actually ends up destroying parts of itself trying to break through. The reason they don’t have a problem is because the two of them were wishing for each others happiness the whole time. They both wrote down the wish of wanting the other to find their precious thing. And at the end of the episode Michiru and Kaoru return their things since there’s no point keeping them anymore.

And now we reach Dorodoron’s final episode.

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Subs please

He’s a fun villain but the real point of this arc was Michiru and Kaoru and episode 20 is no different. Minori gets a new sketchbook and has drawing homework, she wants Mai to come help her out since Saki is a terrible artist. It’s raining on the day they plan to go out and this makes Dorodoron happy because he can power up through the muddy ground. Saki, Mai and Minori meet up with Michiru and Kaoru who were out around there as well. Kaoru is actually worried about Minori getting dragged into the fight against Dorodoron and she lets herself and Michiru get dragged along with them. Kaoru and Minori’s relationship is so cute.

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They go past the cabbage farm back from episode 4 into a hidden flower grove. It’s a really beautiful scene. Kaoru smiles for the first time seeing Minori running through the place. She quietly starts to admire the life, nature and beauty around her. The music used is perfect as well. Everything about this is scene is amazing. It’s so simple and so amazing.

But Dorodoron then attacks. He grows gigantic after sucking up the power from the muddy ground and doesn’t even call forth an Uzainaa at first. Kaoru takes this time to draw Minori away to safety.

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Dorodoron unleashes a big wave of destruction just like Karehaan and after fighting briefly he brings out an Uzainaa as well and also combines with it, growing even larger and giving himself armor. However it’s made him too big and heavy to move right and Bloom and Egret defeat him easily because he can’t fight back well enough.

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He’s hit with their attack and turns to dust that gets blown away by the wind. With seven Miracle Drops again the girls are transported to the Land of Fountains and now revive the Fountain of Earth. Filia appears again and this time the girls and fairies can hear her but she can’t hear them.

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She thanks them but also warns that a great hardship is coming their way soon. Michiru and Kaoru also know they will have to fight next. Michiru questions Kaoru about her feelings and why she helped Minori but Kaoru just brushes it off saying she doesn’t care about the life in the Land of Greenery.

Dorodoron’s arc was good, the episodes enjoyable and Michiru and Kaoru’s development and characters are very nice. Better than Kiriya. In fact after Eas in Fresh Michiru and Kaoru probably have the best villain redemption arc of any. In part due to brainwashing being used as a shitty plot device for many of the others though. Stuff that happens with Michiru and Kaoru definitely borrows heavily from Kiriya but simply does it in an improved way, giving much more time and focus to them before doing anything big and important. And the writing is just generally better. That’s an incredibly vague thing to say but it simply is, the atmosphere the show creates combined with the dialogue and pace makes this story arc much better. And now unlike Kiriya they get an actual episode to themselves before the true confrontation between them and Pretty Cure.

Episode 21 starts with Akudaikaan… pissed. Again. How many times have I wrote that already? Anger is pretty much his default emotion. Michiru and Kaoru tell him that this time they’ll go out and defeat Pretty Cure. But they also wonder about what will happen to the world if the Power of Destruction overruns it. They seem conflicted. But they still decide to end things quickly, however Saki and Mai sidetrack them by inviting them to a stargazing party at Mai’s house that night. This episode has a pretty slow pace in the beginning and it works well. It’s also nice to have a “sky” themed episode because Michiru and Kaoru represent the Fountain of the Sky.

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At the party Mai’s mom mentions to them (after clumsily breaking something) that everything that has a form will one day break so it’s important to treasure it while it lasts and why something is valuable because it’s fleeting and not permanent. Specifically life. This really makes Michiru and Kaoru think for a moment, and they wonder about if what they’re doing matters at all if everything is just going to end eventually. Is obeying Akudaikaan and destroying the world meaningful when it’ll just end on its own?  Mai’s dad shows everyone at the party a small meteorite and goes on about how the starry sky is proof that all the stars and planets are alive. Saki and Mai then tell Michiru and Kaoru that the four of them are friends under this starry sky and this affects Michiru and Kaoru deeply. But the presence of Akudaikaan in their minds makes them choose to still fight. The two of them believe they’re alone and always will be, they could never actually be friends with Pretty Cure.

They make an Uzainaa from the meteorite and attack (still secretly however so as not to give away their identity) and there’s some good animation and cool stuff this fight as the Uzainaa rains down meteors.

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Subs please

But Bloom and Egrets resolve in the fight and their desire to protect Michiru and Kaoru (who they obviously still think are at the party) reaches the ears of the two. It finally gets through to them after what Bloom and Egret say that they think of Michiru and Kaoru as true friends. They realize Bloom and Egret are fighting for their sake. After defeating the Uzainaa Mai looks up and sees the silhouettes of Michiru and Kaoru in the sky. Mai now thinks that maybe Michiru and Kaoru are warriors from Dark Fall since there was no one else accompanying the Uzainaa this episode. Saki however is none the wiser and sees the party as a huge success. She couldn’t be happier. And the contrast between her and Mai next episode is great. The oblivious and happy Saki who is genuinely doing her best to make Michiru and Kaoru her friends and the worried and concerned Mai struggling with what to do now.

Episode 22 has Akudaikaan pissed off even more than usual and he explodes in rage at Michiru and Kaoru. He offers them no slack whatsoever. He tells them they exist solely for his will and to create a world of eternal ruin. Gohyaan though at this point has fully realized that Michiru and Kaoru care for Saki and Mai, even if the two of them don’t get it themselves yet.

Saki invites the two of them to come to the Sky Tree after their club stuff is done. Kaoru then runs into Minori at the school who, brings her along to watch Saki’s practice.  A stray ball almost hits Minori in the head so Kaoru uses her power to vaporize it before it happens. However Mai has seen this and now fully knows that Michiru and Kaoru are from Dark Fall. But she still just doesn’t have the heart to tell Saki.

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The Sky Tree scene is very beautiful and heartwarming. They all hug it together and Michiru and Kaoru think of all the things they’ve experienced in the Land of Greenery, all the good and new things. It’s just so perfect to see smiles slowly appear on their faces. Saki then says that it feels like destiny that they all met here. Michiru and Kaoru are really happy but then they see Mai’s sad face and Kaoru tells herself that this was all a ruse to lead them her. The two of them snap back into getting ready to fight and now finally decide to confront Saki and Mai as warriors of Dark Fall.

The animation this episode isn’t particularly good though but the fight is at least pretty tense and emotional. It’s much more about the words than the action. Bloom is completely flabbergasted at what’s happened, she refuses to fight back and tries to get them to stop fighting. Egret reminds Kaoru about Minori, trying to tell them that they really don’t want to destroy the world but the two of them fire back.

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They say that the world of ruin is how it should be because all life dies eventually and is meaningless but Bloom and Egret know they don’t believe that. Michiru and Kaoru try to goad them into fighting as Pretty Cure vs Dark Fall but Bloom then says something I really love. That before she’s Cure Bloom she’s Saki Hyuuga. And before Saki and Mai are Pretty Cure and Michiru and Kaoru are from Dark Fall they’re all friends. I really love this. But Michiru and Kaoru still don’t listen and go to attack as the episode ends.

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23 opens with Michiru and Kaoru thinking about their lives before the Land of Greenery and meeting Saki and Mai. They never knew anything before and thought all that mattered was Akudaikaan’s will. Their loyalty to Akudaikaan made them not care about the destroyed fountain and the absence of life. But now seeing the Land of Greenery and the beauty of life and how much better things are like that has changed them.

The battle at the beginning is short but well animated. In fact it has the best animation of a fight so far. The energy blasts from Michiru and Kaoru make Bloom and Egret realize that Michiru and Kaoru were the ones who saved them back in episode 18. They know Michiru and Kaoru helped them so they try once more to get them to stop fighting. They know now that Michiru and Kaoru do care about them even if the two are confused about it themselves.

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All the themes brought up in previous episodes of this arc come together perfectly here. And a new important one is brought up of being able to change destiny with your own power. This is very important again much later in the show. Bloom and Egret tell Michiru and Kaoru that they don’t have to just be warriors of Dark Fall, they don’t have to destroy if they don’t want to. They aren’t destined to fight or be destroyed or any of that. Kaoru finally just loses all will to fight and stops Michiru as well. She has something precious to her that she cares about now. She has her own dream and wish now too. Not just what Akudaikaan wants. They really have their own free will and aren’t just Akudaikaan’s loyal servants anymore.

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Michiru and Kaoru look up at the Sky Tree and admire the beauty of the Land of Greenery, Flappi and Choppi tell them that the Fountain of the Sky is beautiful too and they can bring it back to normal with the Miracle Drops. Michiru and Kaoru really want to see it, that is their wish and dream together. But then…

Gohyaan appears, coming up from the ground and exuding much more power than normal. He quickly disparages the two of them before dragging them down into Dark Fall. Bloom and Egret grab on trying to help them but get sucked in too. Gohyaan brings them all before Akudaikaan, wanting Michiru and Kaoru to fully face his wrath. But Michiru and Kaoru do something unexpected first. They try to reason with Akudaikaan. They tell him about the beauty of the Land of Greenery, of how valuable and warm life is, how it’s great because it’s fleeting. They thank him for granting them life and don’t want to disobey him but they can’t destroy the world anymore either. they implore him to stop what he’s doing. And Bloom and Egret are overjoyed at this, they’re so happy to see Michiru and Kaoru stand up like this and proclaim their love for the world.

And Akudaikaan just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand what they’re going on about at all. All he says is for them to defeat Pretty Cure. Gohyaan has to explain to him that Michiru and Kaoru are refusing his orders and will. Akudaikaan is crazy. It really becomes apparent here that he is insane.

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And then this happens. He tortures them for their betrayal and it sounds really agonizing, they scream very loudly. Akudaikaan is very sadistic and evil. The Dark King never dragged out the punishment of those who defied him and was very pragmatic when he killed other villains. Akudaikaan just tortures Michiru and Kaoru with lightning cause they made him mad. This is why I like Akudaikaan more than the Dark King, he has that extra flair and personality that the Dark King was missing. He’s a truly insane and sadistic monster. He’s still one-dimensional and all but he’s still an improvement.

Bloom and Egret try to comfort Michiru and Kaoru and call out Akudaikaan for this but he doesn’t care at all. He doesn’t acknowledge their will or individual wishes whatsoever and prepares to attack again. Bloom and Egret actually manage to push his lightning away and jump forward to attack him, Bloom even jumps up and kicks him right in the fucking head. It’s awesome and the courage the two display is great. But Akudaikaan is just so absurdly strong compared to them. Twin Stream Splash does nothing and he just blasts them away. As he prepares to finish them Michiru and Kaoru sacrifice themselves to stop his attack.

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They thank Saki and Mai for everything and give them the other Miracle Drops for the Fountain of the Sky. Saki and Mai get transported back to the Sky Tree as Michiru and Kaoru fall into Akudaikaan’s hands.

Saki and Mai can’t believe what’s happened at all, they try to get back to Dark Fall but the fairies can’t do it. The two of them cry together, lamenting their failure.

It’s such an amazing mid-season climax. One of the best easily and still the only one that ends on a completely sad note. The themes brought up in Dorodoron’s arc are all made relevant and there’s actual development and closure on things like Michiru and Kaoru finding their own dream and things important to them. Bloom and Egret, who up till this point have been absolute wrecking balls against the villains, find themselves totally outmatched. And it’s such a huge difference to Futari Wa where Black and White were weak but still won due to other things when they first fought the Dark King. Here Bloom and Egret are godly but Akudaikaan is so far above them. And there is no Queen of Light. Her counterpart is dead basically. The Land of Fountains is in a much more dire position than the Garden of Light as well. There is no Guardian or Elder to help out either. No other fairies happily living in the Land of Fountains like in the Garden of Light. They’re all presumed dead too. Pretty Cure is alone. It’s the four of them against Dark Fall. Things are more serious in Splash Star, there’s no one else for them to rely on. It’s something I really love actually. Few seasons will have absolutely no other people from the fairies worlds be there to some degree to give a sense of “Hey, at least we’re not totally alone.” But that’s how it is for Saki, Mai, Flappi, and Choppi at this point. And that’s why they fail. Because Akudaikaan’s power is just too great right now. It also doesn’t weaken his credibility as a villain or the seriousness of fighting against him like the repeated defeats of the Dark King did. Especially by Max Heart. And with the way Splash Star works there is a reasonable and very satisfying way for Pretty Cure to get on his level of strength eventually with how the power of the spirits grows stronger with each revived fountain. The more Bloom and Egret actually accomplish through their own power the stronger they get and the closer they come to being able to beat anyone.

There’s a lot of villains not quite monologuing in episodes 22 and 23 but still talking a lot about things like the greater themes of Splash Star and the value and point of life if it all just ends someday anyways. But because of how well constructed and developed these themes are and because the characters going on about them are better as well it’s actually interesting to listen to as opposed to some other seasons where villains talk too much about DESPAIR AND EVIL AND WORTHLESS LIFE. It actually makes me invested in the world of Splash Star more.

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Episode 24 starts with Mai and Saki understandably depressed over what’s just happened. Saki tells Minori about Kaoru but Minori has no idea what she’s talking about. All trace of Michiru and Kaoru has been erased from the world. It’s really sad to see Minori forgot about Kaoru like this.

Akudaikaan is fuming about their betrayal but Gohyaan gets him to rest easy when he makes mention that a certain someone is now being sent to deal with Pretty Cure. Akudaikaan seems to believe this new person will have no trouble defeating them.

While Saki and Mai are still down Flappi shows them the Miracle Drops that Michiru and Kaoru left them, getting them to realize that they still need to keep their promise of resurrecting the Fountain of the Sky and protecting it. The Fountain of the Sky is really pretty. When they bring it back Filia appears and now they can all converse together. She tells them not to give up and that their feelings are sure to reach Michiru and Kaoru, if they don’t lose hope they’ll surely meet them again someday. She also cryptically states that if they all combine their powers a new power will be born. And then these two new little fairies appear. Along with some strange new computer thing when the girls get sent back to the Sky Tree.

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And then of course we are introduced to our new villain of the arc.

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She is the best of the evil minions so far. In fact. The minions in Splash Star really do get better and better as the show goes on. I guess the stronger they are the more fun they are. Ms. Shitataare is just a huge bitch and an incredibly mean, angry, and petty person. She makes the rivalry with Pretty Cure so personal and she truly comes to hate them more than any other villain. In large part because Saki can never get her name right. Which she is most likely doing on purpose later.

Ms. Shitataare’s water based powers are super strong and Bloom and Egret can’t beat her even though she hasn’t even bothered to create an Uzainaa. Moop and Fuup identify her as the one who destroyed the Fountain of the Sky originally as well. Bloom and Egret try to use Twin Stream Splash but it isn’t strong enough. And that’s the last time Twin Stream Splash is ever used in the show. Cause the determination that Bloom and Egret show inspires Moop and Fuup to act courageous as well and the two of them unleash their power using the new new computer thing.

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This gives them the Pretty Cure Spiral Rings. Nice and simple powerups once more that I really like. With their new attack, Spiral Heart Splash, they drive Ms. Shitataare away. And I must add that the new music for the powerup and attack are really excellent.

Now Splash Star enters kind of the summer doldrums that a lot of seasons of Pretty Cure has. It doesn’t get bad, it just reverts to a pre-Michiru and Kaoru format. With less direct development episodes but overall I’d say it’s still an improvement compared to how Karehaan and Moerumba’s arc were for a couple reasons. First being that Ms. Shitataare is a far more fun villain and second that now Saki and Mai have a much deeper personal investment in what’s going on because of what happened to Michiru and Kaoru. As well as full awareness of how powerful and dangerous Akudaikaan is now and how bad things would be if he got his way.

That personal investment is strengthened even more in episode 25. It’s a beach episode and everyone is helping out at Kenta’s summer shop. Ms. Shitataare is warned not to underestimate the power of the spirits from the fountains but as expected of someone as arrogant of her doesn’t seem to care. Ms. Shitataare and Gohyaan get on each others nerves more than the other villains too and it’s fun to watch. Moop and Fuup meanwhile are still very shy and nervous around Saki and Mai. They just aren’t used to people or the Land of Greenery yet. But they open up to Flappi and Choppi about Michiru and Kaoru, apparently the two of them were spared by Michiru and Kaoru because they didn’t see the point in killing them. They let them live peacefully in the destroyed Fountain of the Sky while the other spirits and fairies were killed.

Ms. Shitataare meanwhile makes her own beach hut and sells shaved ice to compete with Kenta’s shop. FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN TO BE A JERK. Seriously, this is no plan to weaken or defeat Pretty Cure. She’s just being a jerk.

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She then grabs Moop and Fuup and creates this really cool icy sea serpent Uzainaa. It’s by far the coolest looking Uzainaa we’ve had so far. There’s some good animation in the fight against it too and overall it’s a pretty good fight. During it Ms. Shitataare starts to badmouth Michiru and Kaoru and after Bloom and Egret defend them she accidentally lets slip that the two of them aren’t dead or anything. They’ve been sealed away by Akudaikaan for now. Pretty Cure can still rescue them.

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I really like the new attacks effect

They equip the Spiral Rings and realize that they’re faster and stronger now with them too and handily defeat the Uzainaa. Saki and Mai are now very convicted and determined in beating Dark Fall because it also means getting to see Michiru and Kaoru again. This simple fact elevates the quality of the second half of Splash Star. And I’ll just take this time here to mention that Moop and Fuup are alright for fairies and certainly never come close to being as annoying as Porun and Lulun could be.

The next few episodes are all pretty standard ones but they still have the same good Splash Star feeling to them. Episode 26 has the softball team staying at school for summer practice in preparation for the finals. Izumida, the captain, is in charge and Saki notices that everyone seems to be keeping some kind of secret from her. Mai and Kenta drop by as well. Ms. Shitataare messes with Kenta at school, for no reason other than she’s a jerk again, and creates an  Uzainaa later that night. The Uzainaa is similar to the pipe based ones Dorodoron made but more directly water based. After defeating it we find out that the reason everyone’s been keeping something from Saki is that it’s because it’s her birthday. She forgot it herself.

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Kind of a weird present from Mai

Episode 27 involves Saki and Mai at the same summer festival where they met each other five years ago and there’s some cute moments in it but nothing really happens. 28 then is like a crappy version of episode 42 of Futari Wa. Ms. Shitataare separates the two of them before they can transform but the episode is lacking in the high tension and emotion that made Futari Wa 42 so good. 29 also is a very standard episode until the end. Gohyaan has been ordered by Akudaikaan to go to the Land of Greenery and do something because Ms. Shitataare has been failing. Meanwhile Moop and Fuup get in a fight with Flappi but after Ms. Shitataare comes to attack they resolve everything pretty quickly. However that’s when Gohyaan appears. He grabs Flappi and Choppi and returns to Dark Fall before anyone can do anything.

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Gohyaan leaving them all alive as well is actually really smart too since he doesn’t know for sure if Flappi and Choppi know where the Fountain of the Sun is. Gotta leave someone left over to interrogate. Also something to note is that unfortunately over the last few episodes Splash Star has had a higher tendency to repeat a bad habit from Futari Wa/Max heart in that the fight will immediately end right after the Spiral Rings are equipped and they just blast the Uzainaa instead of beating it up first. Thankfully this still doesn’t happen nearly as much.

Next episode Saki and Mai don’t know what to do. They have no way of getting to Dark Fall. In Dark Fall Ms. Shitataare is absolutely livid that Gohyaan has gone behind her back, even if it was Akudaikaan’s order, and we really get to see just how angry of a person she is. And petty. Can’t forget that. Cause she’s about to do something that will screw over Akudaikaan purely because she can’t stand Gohyaan having his favor. Yes. She is willing to ruin Dark Fall if it means anyone other than her gets respect.

Saki and Mai are totally crushed by what’s happened, especially so soon after losing Michiru and Kaoru, but they can’t do anything. Gohyaan is torturing Flappi and Choppi in his lair but no one can help them. In desperation Saki and Mai go to the Sky Tree hoping their wishes will be heard. And they are. By Ms. Shitataare. Who appears there as well, hugging the tree no less, and takes them to Dark Fall with her where they can confront Gohyaan in his rather stylish hideout.

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Perhaps “hide”out is the wrong word

Flappi and Choppi are still too weakened by the torture to do anything so Gohyaan attempts to grab Moop and Fuup. He then gets ready to straight up kill Saki, Mai, Flappi and Choppi because they’re worthless to him now. If no one knows where the Fountain of the Sun is then oh well. However Saki and Mai’s strong feelings towards Flappi and CHoppi and their unwavering spirit when staring death in the face at the hands of Gohyaan causes Moop and Fuup’s power to activate. Just as Filia said, if they never give up and combine their powers a new power will be born. This theme, as one should expect from Splash Star at this point, also comes into play later in a big way.

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Saki and Mai transform into Cure Bright and Cure Windy using the power of the moon and the wind. It’s a nice transformation just like the first but… Bright is an ugly outfit. I like Bloom but Bright just doesn’t look good. Windy is good though. They get new light and wind blasts as powers in these forms as well as an illumination ability for Bright that is only used one more time after this episode (in the very next one no less!). The animation for this part of the episode is very good, possibly the sharpest and most fluid Splash Star will ever look outside of its movie.

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Their new attack in these forms, Spiral Star Splash, is also cool and has great music as well. The Spiral Rings as well now have a star shape on them instead of a heart one for when they’re using them as Bloom and Egret. I love how all their forms and everything still tie into the big themes of Splash Star and the natural world. No other season is as good or consistent about this stuff as Splash Star is.

Anyways they blow up Gohyaan’s hideout with their new attack and Gohyaan is actually missing for the next two episodes. Suspicious…

The episode right after this is Kenta trying to find a manzai partner before the school festival where he’s going to put on a gig. It has so many puns and Japanese wordplay I think my head might explode if I ever watch it again. Kenta ends up choosing Miyasako for his partner and the two have an alright synergy together. They perform at a small public park as practice but Ms. Shitataare comes to ruin it. For no real reason again. Maybe she just likes messing with Kenta? That’s three times now. The fight is pretty poor and uneventful but we do see a use of Bright’s power that would become really common, she creates a very standard forward facing shield with her power, instead of the sparkly energy barriers/domes that they normally would. She can also use this to send a light blast out of it. We also learn that as far as the fairies know Bright and Windy forms aren’t replacing Bloom and Egret, both forms have been powered up and it just depends if they’re relying on the spirits of the Moon and Wind or the Earth and Sky.

And now this brings us to Ms. Shitataare;s final episode. She’s had the longest run of any of the normal villains. And it’s been a good run, she’s a blast to watch. But all things must come to an end.

The softball team is practicing for the finals again and their coach is watering a small flower on the school grounds that she found. Saki and Mai see her doing this and she tells them she wants to see it mature and bloom. Ms. Shitataare later abducts the coach and impersonates her, threatening Saki and Mai to reveal where the Fountain of the Sun is and if they don’t know then to find out. Pretty high tension episode but no one knows where the fountain is, Filia hid it somewhere in the Land of Greenery. Saki and Mai get pissed at Ms. Shitataare and refuse to comply with her anymore, they transform into Bloom and Egret this time and begin to fight.

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Ms. Shitataare makes a really cool water dragon Uzainaa. It looks a little like Shenlong. And I also like how it shares similarities to the first sea serpent Uzainaa she made. Bookends. It’s the best fight in Splash Star so far and has some really cool stuff. Ms. Shitataare gives a better display of the Power of Destruction than anyone before her and completely levels the town, turning it into a barren desert. Bloom and Egret almost give up after this but they see the small cosmos flower hanging on in the desert, seeing it struggling for life makes them fight on. Knowing that they have to succeed they refuse to acknowledge the Power of Destruction or give in. Fighting back harder than ever against Ms. Shitataare with the Spiral Rings they toss her and the Uzainaa to the ground. Ms. Shitataare is beyond enraged now she transforms her Uzainaa into a big blast of water, Pretty Cure respond in kind with Spiral Heart Splash. The two attacks clash before Pretty Cure’s strength prevails and Ms. Shitataare is obliterated. Ms. Shitataare was easily the most vile and obnoxious minion to Saki and Mai and seeing them beat her down so bad is great.

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Definitely the best end for a villain so far. I love when they clash with big attacks like that and there’s a real struggle to overpower the other. Splash Star does this several more times and it’s always great.

Also we’ve gotten to where the opening has changed slightly to include Moop and Fuup and the Bright and Windy forms. And the ending has also changed to Ganbalance de Dance. Which is a very nice and cute song and my personal favorite ending in the franchise. Different variations of it would also be used as the second endings for Yes 5 and Yes 5 GoGo. For some reason.

Well, the past 9 episodes were an enjoyable part of Splash Star. But now it’s about to get even better. Better than ever before in fact. Because we’ve arrived. Yes, we’ve gotten to the villain better than Ms. Shitataare, better than Michiru and Kaoru, than Bunbee, than Westar or Joker or anyone else. WE HAVE GOTTEN TO KINTOLESKY!

The musclebound final minion who represents metal. He’s out jogging when he smells something good, turns out it’s Panpakapan. He buys some bread and loves it. While he’s there Saki’s big fat cat Korone hisses at him. Sensing there’s some thing evil about him. Saki and Mai leave to go restore the Fountain of Water (only one more to go!) and Filia tells them to be wary because the next villain they’re about to face is way stronger than anyone they’ve fought before. And it turns out that the reason Gohyaan was missing the last two episodes is because he was trying to convince Kintolesky to go to the Land of Greenery and defeat Pretty Cure.

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He’s so damn different from the rest. There is absolutely no ill-will in him towards Pretty Cure or the Land of Greenery and he even comes to kind of like the Land of Greenery. All he cares about is a good fight and he even tries to avoid pointless collateral damage. But his loyalty to Akudaikaan and single-minded love for fighting mean the absence of a will to ever turn good or anything. Even though he’s easily the most likable of any villain. And unlike the rest he probably doesn’t even hate his comrades either. He banters with Gohyaan a bit but it isn’t mean natured like the others.

Saki meanwhile is thinking about Korone and how she met him. She found him years ago on a rainy day when he was just a kitten and right after this he saves her from being hit by a bicycle so her parents decide to keep him. Kintolesky comes by again and Korone gets even more enraged because he can tell Kintolesky is looking for a fight. Kintolesky is very professional and straight-forward about what he’s after. A huge contrast to Ms. Shitataare. You couldn’t have two more different villains back to back. In his first fight with Pretty Cure he doesn’t summon an Uzainaa, he wants to see if they’re worthy opponents but is disappointed when Bright and Windy can’t hurt him at all.He effortlessly blocks their light and wind blasts. Korone then jumps in trying to protect Saki and Bright and Windy get a second wind using their powers to protect him and equip the Spiral Rings. Their attacks still don’t affect Kintolesky but he’s impressed with their power now and leaves after holding back Spiral Star Splash for a time. He doesn’t want the fight with Pretty Cure to end so soon, he feels like they’re the strong opponents he’s always wanted.

Next episode features Kazuya, who’s worrying over his classes school festival ideas. Everyone has a different idea of what to do. Meanwhile Kintolesky flat out tells Gohyaan that he doesn’t care about finding the location of the Fountain of the Sun. Gohyaan can just take care of that, all he wants to do is fight strong opponents. Gotta admire his honesty. Saki sees Kazuya at the beach and the two of them talk together.  Saki actually cheers him up and manages to get him to relax and stop worrying so much about the festival. Kintolesky then barges in on the two of them and knocks out Kazuya, he doesn’t want any unnecessary interferences while fighting.  He isn’t cruel but he has no reservations doing something like this if he thinks it will lead to a better fight sooner. Obviously though Saki and Mai are pissed at him for hurting Kazuya over something so trivial. Kintolesky makes his first Uzainaa out of Kazuya’s bike and a telephone pole and uses it to gauge Pretty Cure’s strength. And after he’s defeated instead of most villains who just teleport away Kintolesky does a series of back-flips off-screen.

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Episode 35 is a big one. We’ve finally gotten to the softball finals. Izumida is really fired up and Saki is determined to win because it’ll be her seniors last game. The game though starts poorly as Saki gives up several hits right off the bat and makes a couple of errors that gives the opposing team a run right from the beginning. However Izumida keeps her spirit up and makes a big triple play to end the inning. Kintolesky is also watching the game with everyone and comments on everything going on.

As Saki’s teams at bat starts the coach reminds her about last year, where their team lost due to an error Izumida made in the semi-finals. She tells her that Izumida turned all the frustration and hurt from the moment into practice and determination for this year. This gives Saki more confidence to play the best she can. For the rest of the game neither team gives up a single run, it’s the last inning and there are two outs with Izumida on base and Saki at bat. It’s all on her. She hits the ball high into the air and starts running bases, she knows she made it. She’s sure of it.

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But as she rounds the bases she stops, Izumida is standing still in front of her looking into the outfield. Saki looks out and sees that her ball was caught. They’ve lost.

Izumida tries to comfort Saki. She thanks her for everything and how they were able to get so far this time. She tells her she’s happy and to fight hard next year.

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Like a punch in the gut

After the game Saki sits in the dugout. Soon joined by Mai. Mai does manage to cheer her up but Saki is still so sad after losing and letting the third years down. Kintolesky then appears and actually apologizes for witnessing Saki’s moment of weakness when she’s crying but he also insults them for the wasted effort her team put into the game. this really pisses off Saki cause of all the hard work Izumida put into it. Kintolesky tells her effort is pointless without a win but Saki doesn’t agree with him at all. The fight this episode has some really nice animation and the liquid metal Uzainaa is cool too. Pretty Cure fight as Bloom and Egret again this time and they also do something like pseudo-fly in it. They don’t actually fly but more like jump on the air or blast off with the power of the spirits. It’s still cool and they’re the only Cures for a really long time that can fly without any sort of powerup.

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Kintolesky does plan on defeating them completely this time but they hit him with a super strong Spiral Heart Splash. He holds it back for a little bit but still ends up overpowered and has to retreat. Now he’s really interested in their power. On the way back to school from the game Saki is invigorated. She’s already looking forward to next year and gets everyone to run back to school instead of taking the bus for training. Saki’s great. Seeing a character actually fail, 100%, is really endearing.

Episodes 36-39 are kind of like the middle of Ms. Shitataare’s arc. Except better because we have Kintolesky. They’re still mostly unremarkable episodes all in all, though 36 is good, but even the not as good ones are made so much more better just for the fact that Kintolesky is the villain. Exchange him with any other villain in these episodes and they would not be nearly as good. He just makes things so much better.

Episode 36 is the preparation for the cultural festival and Mai has been tasked with creating the model/statue/mascot thing for the festival this year. Once more she has trouble with this and she’s worried about taking on such an important job and being responsible for it. Kintolesky is hilarious this episode. Akudaikaan tells him to use strategy to defeat Pretty Cure. But Kintolesky’s idea of strategy is incredibly warped and silly and he’s just hilarious to watch. Mai gets inspired by Saki and designs a model with two girls holding hands together. I wonder where this idea could’ve possibly come from. Kintolesky though during his “strategy” accidentally damages it and the pumpkin mask Saki was working on for their classes haunted house. He actually sincerely apologizes for this but the girls don’t really believe it was an accident so they fight. It’s a pretty good fight too.

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After they deal with him the two relate to each other about how they feel their most comfortable and confident when they’re together, and that’s why Mai made the model like this. Holding hands is when the two are closest.

The next episode is the actual cultural festival. Miyasako and Kenta have their manzai performance planned but Miyasako is nervous about it because his family will be there and he hasn’t told them about the act. This causes him to almost drop out of doing it. Kintolesky actually comes to the festival and hangs out for a while too before attacking. It’s another pretty good fight, and it’s also really cool to see how Pretty Cure have actually improved since the Kintolesky arc started. They’re now almost able to match him without using the Spiral Rings. They really improve by the end. There aren’t many times in Pretty Cure where you can really see a team get stronger and more competent over a series of episodes, usually they just get a big power up or something.

Episode 38 has a drama being shot in Saki and Mai’s town. During the shooting a scout gives Saki his card and everyone thinks she’s been scouted now and will become a big tv star. The news spreads like wildfire and it even involves people thinking she’ll leave town to greener pastures. Of course this would mean the end of Pretty Cure and Mai is worried over it too but the two of them don’t get a good chance to talk yet. And something else happens this episode, as if we didn’t need any more evidence that Akudaikaan was insane and detached from reality Kintolesky flat out tells him he is training Pretty Cure and making them stronger on purpose so he can get more enjoyment from defeating them later. Gohyaan sees the problem with this but Akudaikaan doesn’t think it’s a big deal and lets Kintolesky continue on as normal. Ever since episode 35 Kintolesky has been working on making Pretty Cure stronger because he got a taste of how strong they can be.

By now Kintolesky is also basically friends with Saki’s dad and when he goes to buy bread he “learns” that Saki will be leaving. He overreacts to this and goes to make sure this won’t happen, his battle with them must not be interrupted! The fight is fairly meh though. Afterwards Saki tells Mai that she has no plans on leaving and they later learn anyways that what the scout was interested in was Moop and Fuup, who he thought were toys.

Episode 39 opens with everyone playing hide and seek at the Sky Tree. It’s cute. But Kenta and Miyasako come by and they see the fairies. They tell people in town and it starts off this frenzy of searching for “Miminga” strange creatures supposedly rumored to exist. Saki and Mai later have to prove that these Miminga were really just puppets that the two of them made, Kenta and Miyasako didn’t really see anything alive, and we learn that the Miminga legend is just that. A legend. But as a note this episode is also the last one to feature an Uzainaa.

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The final Uzainaa

It’s unfortunate but the fight against it isn’t really good. But it is funny when Kintolesky actually tricks Saki and Mai into falling into his training room.

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And that brings us to Kintolesky’s final episode. Which is very awesome and very funny. Mai’s birthday is coming up and her family is throwing a surprise party for her. Saki decides to make a drawing of her as a present except… she’s a terrible, terrible artist. This episode is a riot, Saki’s attempt at “studying” her subject is hilarious, Kintolesky’s critique and advice for her work is hilarious, his letter of challenge is hilarious. This episode features the best of both sides of Pretty Cure. The silly fun side and the cool badass side.

Akudaikaan is finally fed up with Kintolesky’s shit and forces him to go all out. After some words with Gohyaan he resolves to finish things his way. A straight forward fight. If he loses he even agrees to just give them the final Miracle Drop. He won’t be fighting with any Uzainaa, it will be entirely his own power vs the power of Pretty Cure.

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The fight starts and Bright and Windy are actually stronger than Kintolesky now without the Spiral Rings. That is until he goes all out at least. He shows off his true power and it’s really cool, his punches melt stone and he knocks Pretty Cure around no problem. He gets angry though because he can tell Pretty Cure is worried about the potential damage to the Land of Greenery, Kintolesky can’t stand distractions so he creates a huge explosion and threatens to destroy the entire Land of Greenery if they don’t start taking this fight seriously and come at him with everything they’ve got.

Moop and Fuup give Bright and Windy the Spiral Rings and throw more power into their attacks than ever seen before. It’s really cool how we get some parallels between this fight and the first one they had against Kintolesky. Attacks that he previously blocked without effort are much stronger and larger now and actually hurt him. Kintolesky is no slouch either and keeps charging on like a juggernaut. He even generates fire without it being his element, he’s just that hot-blooded.

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They hit him with Spiral Star Splash and even though he holds out for a while and even starts to beat it back Pretty Cure’s determination to protect the town and Land of Greenery wins out and their attack envelopes him. However Kintolesky still fights against its power, unlike every other villain Kintolesky manages to blast apart the attack after being hit by hit, he’s just that powerful. But…

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The purifying affect of the attack and his own exertion causes him to slowly disintegrate into his original form of gold dust. But he’s happy to have fought such a great final battle. As promised he gives them the Miracle Drop and disappears peacefully.

The party for Mai goes on at the end of the episode and Saki’s drawing has greatly improved from how it started. Mai couldn’t be happier about getting a personal present like this from her.

Kintolesky’s arc was pure fun. There’s no major happenings, no big development with any of the characters, it’s 8 episodes of pure Splash Star fun. It’s excellent. And episode 40 is just the perfect conclusion to his arc as well, combining the best humor and action together into one great experience. Just like how Ms. Shitataare’s final episode was the best ending for a villain at that point Kintolesky’s final episode knocks that one off the number one spot. So Pretty Cure now have all of the Miracle Drops, and all they need to do now is go revive the Fountain of Metal. What could possibly go wrong?

Well since we’re about to get into the final arc and grand finale there are some things to mention about Splash Star. Compared to Futari and Max Heart Splash Star’s ratings and toy sales were not nearly as good, it’s basically a failure compared to the first series. In fact the highest rated episode for Splash Star is actually the very first one. And it just steadily declined in viewership from there and the toy sales are terrible compared to every other season. Probably because of this Toei ended up making huge changes to what Pretty Cure is and came up with Yes5 next season. Which is vastly different from Futari Wa and Splash Star. Splash Star is the last true duo season of Pretty Cure and the only other season besides the original to still really keep that original style. For years I’ve wanted another one but it’s just never happened. But what someone has to know about Splash Star is that even though it was doing relatively poorly is that the creators never gave up on it. They kept trying their best to make Splash Star as good as possible and that’s why it ends up with such an amazing ending and being the best season overall. They never gave up on it. When I first started watching Splash Star it wasn’t even fully subbed. The only seasons that were fully subbed were Futari Wa and Max Heart. Dark days for Pretty Cure fans, anyone getting into the franchise today doesn’t know how good they have it. So I took a break for a while from watching it, but it had left a strong impression in my memory, I was always thinking about it and always excited for when it would be inevitably finished. And I was not disappointed.

I haven’t really talked about any major problems with Splash Star. From reading my FW/MH reviews one could easily tell that I have no problem criticizing seasons but the thing is Splash Star just doesn’t have many big problems. The writing is so much tighter and the story, villains, world, and everything are so good. The biggest problem with Splash Star is probably its main characters. Saki is great, she’s an excellent example of how a simple character can still be a good and well written one, but she and Mai never develop or change. All of the character development in Splash Star goes to Michiru and Kaoru. Saki gets fleshed out a bit and she has multiple levels to her but not on the level of many other leads. And Mai… well, Mai is kind of dull. She’s extremely cute and likable and not exactly a bad character but she isn’t very interesting either and since there isn’t even anything like her relationship with Saki growing or developing or even having a real character arc she just comes off as a kind of hollow character. She has a little depth too but I honestly can’t think of any other Cure that is as unremarkable as Mai. As I wrote above the trade off for this is Michiru and Kaoru, and a well developed side cast as well I suppose.

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Ever the environmentalist

To start off the final arc before the finale our heroines have gathered all of the last 7 Miracle Drops into the Carafe and prepare to go to the Fountain of Metal. In Dark Fall Akudaikaan is enraged and flabbergasted at everyone’s failure. But Gohyaan assures him that he has a special plan to get them back on top.

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They get to the Fountain and revive it. They’ve finally gotten them all and now Princess Filia is fully brought back to life as well. She thanks them all for everything.

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Saki and Mai ask her about Michiru and Kaoru. They want to see them again like Filia said they’d be able to. Filia says she can still see their Life Lights, every living thing has this light in them that shines brightly, and Michiru and Kaoru’s are faint but still shining as well. But they’re deep in Dark Fall where no other light can reach. Filia says they now have to fully revive the World Tree. The Power of Destruction will be weakened if they do and she gathers the spirit and life energy from the six revived fountains and gathers it into the carafe. She tells Saki and Mai that all they need to do now is pour it into the Fountain of the Sun. But when Filia is finally about to reveal the location of the Fountain of the Sun she has to stop because Gohyaan is eavesdropping on them.

Saki and Mai transform to protect Filia but Gohyaan sneaks right by them and grabs the power filled carafe. He puts his own Power of Destruction inside it and corrupts the revitalizing life energy for the Fountain of the Sun inside it.  He also puts in an old withered leaf and pours it on the ground, bringing Karehaan back to life. Right after he does this again and brings back Moerumba as well. The two of them also have a strange new Gohyaan symbol on their bodies. The chest for Karehaan and top of the head for Moerumba.

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The two of them do not get along remotely well and they’re quite hilarious together. They’re also much stronger now due to being made from the spirit energy of the carafe and Gohyaan’s Power of Destruction directly. The fight is pretty good, no more Uzainaa so it’s just a straight forward brawl. Bright and Windy are outmatched against them so resort to attempting Spiral Star Splash. However it doesn’t affect them at all. They’re made in part from the corrupted spirit energy gathered in the Gohyaan symbols now, this protects them and cancels out the purifying power of Pretty Cure. Karehaan and Moerumba then blast them but shortly start arguing with each other again so Gohyaan just drags them off for now. Not like they’re in any hurry to defeat Pretty Cure anymore. All the cards are in Dark Fall’s hands again.

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Filia collapses and Gohyaan goes to visit Michiru and Kaoru at the bottom of Dark Fall. They’re still fast asleep so he really does nothing more than mock and insult them and Pretty Cure. After he leaves we can hear their hearts slowly beating. Filia tells everyone that they must now head to the Land of Greenery.

It’s a good way to start the final arc and it’s really cool how Splash Star brings back all the old villains and does it in a way that makes completely sense and fits in with the themes and world of Splash Star. The whole Life Light thing and every life shining with a light of its own is also an important part of the rest of Splash Star. Although it’s kind of just an expanded version of the theme of all life having value that Splash Star was already fond of. And it’s so nice how Splash Star has a real final arc, where things are actually didn’t from before and every episode builds off the last one and they all work really well moving towards the finale. The only other seasons that have real final arcs are Fresh, Suite, Smile, and Happiness Charge. With a couple others that kind of sort of skirt it.

So episode 42 then has Filia use her power to open up a portal to the Land of Greenery even without the carafe. But she disappears after this while the rest of them end up at the Sky Tree, Filia even at her strongest does not have near the power or capability of the Queen of Light. A strange light is then seen floating through the town before it enters Korone.

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Saki and Mai are determined not to give up even though things look bad. At her home Saki finds out that Filia’s spirit has entered Korone. And it gives him intelligence and the ability to speak as well. It’s pretty funny to see Korone like this for the remainder of the series.

Akudaikaan then criticizes Gohyaan for not nabbing Filia when he could’ve, saying that if they had her they could wither the World Tree instantly. He orders the newly revived villains to defeat Pretty Cure and find Filia. At the Sky Tree Filia explains to Saki and Mai that she had to borrow Korone’s body because she used up all her power but they still need to get the carafe back. Karehaan and Dorodorn immediately head to the Land of Greenery to fight Saki and Mai and find Filia. Karehaan doesn’t get along well with Dorodoron either.

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Saki and Mai transform into Bloom and Egret and the fight is okay but not super good or anything. They’re completely outclassed again though even with the Spiral Rings. Korone wants to help Saki and Mai, as do Moop and Fuup, so Filia tells them to combine their powers. She calls upon the lives in the Land of Greenery and gathers their power, sending it into the carafe in Dark Fall and purifying the remaining energy there.

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This energy then starts to spill out towards Michiru and Kaoru. Because of this Michiru and Kaoru can hear Saki and Mai struggling and know they’re in trouble,  they slowly begin to wake from their slumber but they still can’t move. Knowing that Saki and Mai must be fighting hard they exert all the strength they can, and combined with the power from Filia and the others in the Land of Greenery and their wish to see Saki and Mai again the energy from the carafe finally reaches them. They take in the power and fly out of Dark Fall much to Gohyaan’s anger.

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They save Bloom and Egret and because they now have both kinds of power in them like the other villains they’re stronger too and can destroy the Gohyaan symbols and make the villains vulnerable to Pretty Cure again. Karehaan gets hit by their attack and then Dorodoron hilariously ditches him. Which is even funnier when you realize he could’ve survived Spiral Heart Splash just fine. But because of his cowardice Karehaan pays the price and is destroyed for good.

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Saki and Mai cry because they’re so happy to see Michiru and Kaoru again. It’s really touching.

Episode 43 is then a really good episode. If it wasn’t obvious each resurrected villain will be getting two episodes and everyone gets different pairings each time so it’s really fun to see the different duos and how they interact with each other.

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The four girls are at Panpakapan, Korone and Filia tell them all that the reason Michiru and Kaoru were able to come back was because of the strong feelings and bonds they had for each other. That gave birth to a new power and let Michiru and Kaoru return. Once again this follows the big established themes in Splash Star. Minori then comes by and she remembers Kaoru now. Both of them are very happy to see each other.

In Dark Fall Gohyaan has Moerumba and Kintolesky go out to crush Michiru and Kaoru and Pretty Cure. The silly Moerumba and serious Kintolesky play off of each other really well. At school in the Land of Greenery it’s like nothing has changed. Everyone remembers Michiru and Kaoru, it’s like they never left. To prepare for the upcoming exams Saki invites Michiru and Kaoru over to study, Michiru and Kaoru are really happy to be with Saki and Mai again, it gives them that special warm feeling. There’s also something just really sweet about all 4 of them sitting in a study group just going about as if they had normal lives.

Kintolesky and Moerumba then ambush Michiru and Kaoru as they leave. And this is the best fight in Splash Star so far, good action and very intense and emotional. Saki and Mai don’t show up for a while either.

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Kintolesky admonishes them for betraying Akudaikaan and Michiru and Kaoru hurt because of this, they still have that feeling of obligation and love towards Akudaikaan for creating them, but they love Saki and Mai too and they cant accept what Akudaikaan is doing either. They’re completely outmatched by Kintolesky and Moerumba however and even when Saki and Mai arrive the four of them can hardly stand up to the duo. But they all support each other to the end and Moerumba carelessly gets himself killed after not listening to Kintolesky’s warning.

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And Michiru and Kaoru being Michiru and Kaoru the two of them get perfect 100’s on their tests. What’s nice though is that even Saki did good on this one.

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Episode 44 is Ms. Shitataare’s return as villain. She teams up with Dorodoron (which is actually a really good combo since he can power up from the muddy ground she creates) of course though her bitchiness gets on his nerves. She has to be the one on top and in command of their duo. Gohyaan also doesn’t appear this episode (unless you count flashbacks) making it the fourth and final time he misses one.

This episode has Saki, Mai, Michiru, Kaoru, and Minori all going to the zoo. But Michiru and Kaoru seem to be worried about something. We see in a flashback that after the events of last episode Filia talked with them. She told them that now with them being created from both the Power of Destruction and revived by the Power of the Spirits that if one of these powers disappears Michiru and Kaoru might die as well. And Michiru and Kaoru are depressed that they have to fight Dark Fall at all. Akudaikaan and the others are technically their family and even though there was no real love there they still love Akudaikaan and they can’t just ignore that Dark Fall is where they were born and raised.

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Filia leaves them with the simple advice that they must decide the path they must take on their own. Whatever they choose to do will be difficult but it must be done.

Getting out of the flashback Ms. Shitataare and Dorodoron attack. Saki gets her name wrong again which Dorodoron finds pretty funny. Dorodoron actually tries to get Michiru and Kaoru to reconsider their choices. He pretty much asks them to come back to Dark Fall and seems pretty upset by their betrayal. Ms. Shitataare is annoyed too and doesn’t get why they would so something so clearly stupid. Ms. Shitataare tells Bright and Windy that Michiru and Kaoru will disappear if Dark Fall is destroyed. Which really hits the two of them hard because they don’t want to lose Michiru and Kaoru again.

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Michiru and Kaoru though continue to fight on. The fight overall is a pretty enjoyable one. Dorodoron powers up and Bright and Windy can’t muster all their strength because of what they just learned about Michiru and Kaoru. Michiru and Kaoru though tell them that they have to fight and win, they tell them not to worry and remind them that they can change destiny and make a miracle happen. They use their own words back from the mid-season climax to shock them back into action.

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Dorodoron hits them with a spider web but these random lasers from Bright and Windy cut it to pieces and the four of them destroy Dorodoron for good. And I mean random. We just get two weird looking energy beams that are completely unlike any other sort of attack the two of them use.

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Cute

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And we finally get to the last episode before the finale. It’s Christmas. Splash Star would now start a trend where the last episode before shit goes down is always the Christmas episode. Yes5 and GoGo would do this and then Fresh-Suite would change it so that the Christmas episode is the one the finale starts on instead of the last one before it. And back to Splash Star there’s a big Christmas sale at Panpakapan and there’s also going to be a party there tonight. Saki was looking forward to Kazuya coming to the party but it turns out he won’t be. She was going to give him a present.

In Dark Fall Kintolesky and Ms. Shitataare are the last ones left. They argue with each other over who is the strongest warrior of Dark Fall so Gohyaan just gets them to team up to settle the argument. The two of them challenge each other to see who can beat Pretty Cure. Like all the villains they have a fun dynamic with each other.

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And they dress up like this for really no reason

Kazuya ends up coming by Panpakapan during the sale, with a girl. Saki sees this and gets depressed because she thinks it must be his girlfriend. She gets really down in the dumps from this and Michiru, Kaoru and Mai are all trying to figure out how to help her. This episode is about everyone else supporting Saki instead of the other way around which it normally is. Now they pay her back for all the good she’s done for them, all the confidence and warmth she’s given them.

Kintolesky and Ms. Shitataare go to Panpakapan and Saki’s dad thinks Ms. Shitataare is Kintolesky’s wife. It’s also funny how friendly Kintolesky still is with the guy. The other girls see the two of them though and go to confront them but Saki doesn’t even care, she just tells them to not bother her today.

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Subs please

She gets really pissed off at them because she thinks they’re acting like a couple too with them being together and just explodes at them. It’s pretty funny. Ms. Shitataare gets pissed off too cause Saki purposefully screws up her name again and the group prepares for battle.

And it’s honestly really disappointing. Considering it’s Kintolesky and Ms. Shitataare their final battle should be way way better. What we get instead is pretty crappy. The end to the fight is good but that’s about it. Bloom can’t muster much power cause of how she’s feeling, which in turn weakens Egret, so the four of them get knocked around at first. But seeing everyone else try to support her and care for her gives her her strength back.

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And then we get one of the best villain deaths of any season. Kintolesky and Ms. Shitataare try to hold off the attack but can’t. Kintolesky tells Ms. Shitataare that he’s impressed and she’s a good warrior so they should allow themselves to be beautifully destroyed together after losing. Ms. Shitataare reacts in complete surprise (but blushes as well) to Kintolesky falling for her and the two peacefully go out together. Even for how horrible of a person Ms. Shitataare was I oddly find her to be the second most likable of all the villains after Kintolesky. Maybe because she comes off as the most human as well. These aren’t two villains who were ever redeemed or forgiven but they found a happiness with each other at the end. It’s a sweet ending.

Kazuya later unexpectedly drops by the party, it’s revealed the girl he was with was just a classmate who loves Panpakapan and the two of them went there together to pick up the cake for their class’s party. Kazuya then gives Saki a Christmas present and she gives him a small cake she personally made. It’s a cute ending to this “romance”. There was never any indiciation that Saki’s crush would actually go anywhere or be reciprocated. Kazuya always saw her as his kid sister’s friend. I’m fine with how this ends.

Michiru and Kaoru, and Gohyaan as well, then ruminate on how the end has finally arrived. Michiru and Kaoru believe  that they’ll disappear just like Kintolesky and Ms. Shitataare but still resolve to finish things.

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So now we’ve arrived to the beginning of the end. Episode 46 that starts off the grand finale of Splash Star. It’s such a simple finale, possibly the simplest of any season since it’s just two big battles and while the themes and clashing ideals of the heroines and villains are well done they are not especially complex and there isn’t exactly a side plot or anything else in the finale either. And yet it’s the best finale in the franchise. Simple is best after all. It’s satisfying and everything is resolved well. It’s just the best way to end the season.

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Michiru and Kaoru have decided to go into Dark Fall by themselves and not drag Saki and Mai into it. They convince themselves that they WILL return from Dark Fall to see Saki and Mai again. They stop by Panpakapan first to visit them and Minori. Minori asks them to all go on another trip together and Kaoru promises that they will before leaving. However Saki and Mai can tell they’re acting strangely and go follow them.

They try to convince Saki and Mai that it’s safer for them to go alone, they can just grab the carafe and come back, but Saki and Mai are too worried about what happened last time. They try to convince them to all go together and Filiar tells them that it’s better if they stay together too. Kaoru though is worried about Minori and how sad she’d be if she lost Saki but Saki tells her that Minori would be just as sad if she lost Kaoru. Michiru and Kaoru know they won’t let up so all four of them get ready to go to Dark Fall together with Filia and Korone staying behind. Filia tells them that their feelings for each other will always give rise to a new power and not to forget this.

In Dark Fall they find the carafe but it was a trap by Gohyaan to get their guard down. He grabs the carafe and the cavern their in opens up to reveal them standing right before Akudaikaan. Who wastes no time zapping Michiru and Kaoru. Saki and Mai transform into Bright and Windy to stop him. Akudaikaan utterly disregards Michiru and Kaoru’s lives, he says their worthless now, much to the disgust of Bright and Windy.

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They put up a much better fight against him this time but Akudaikaan still just causally throws lightning at them from his chair, not close to exerting his full power. Gohyaan though is shocked that Pretty Cure have become so powerful (thanks Kintolesky) but is still sure that Akudaikaan will destroy them.

Michiru and Kaoru have to move in to protect Bright and Windy and try to convince Akudaikaan of how wrong he is about life. They still really don’t want to fight and kill him, but they would if they have to. Akudaikaan says life is weak and short and doomed to destruction anyways but Michiru and Kaoru say that exactly because life is short it gets lived to its fullest and becomes strong. And that life all shines with its own light. He disregards this until they tell him that their lives are shining brightly as well because of Akudaikaan. It’s because he created them that now they’re living their lives to their fullest and are filled with warmth. Akudaikaan has created life. He has created what he sees as futile, hates, and seeks to destroy. He never realized this, he tries to say he only created Michiru and Kaoru to help destroy the world but that doesn’t matter anymore. Michiru and Kaoru are alive and shining because he created them. And Akudaikaan then has a psychotic breakdown.

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This shit is awesome

He becomes completely enraged and wildly blasts out lightning, bringing down the cavern around him and rising from his chair finally. Pretty Cure and Michiru and Kaoru narrowly escape, watching on as the cavern collapses and Akudaikaan rises from the smoke, ready to use his full power to destroy everything. Michiru and Kaoru still ask him to stop but he’s having absolutely none of it. Moop and Fuup give Bright and Windy the Spiral Rings and they actually manage to hurt him with their attacks and get ready to use Spiral Star Splash on him.

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He meets their attack with his own volley of lightning and completely overpowers Bright and Windy. Michiru and Kaoru come in to shield them but even with all four of them putting their power into it Akudaikaan powers through and blasts them away. Laughing maniacally as the episode ends.

Episode 47 starts with the four girls all weakened while Akudaikaan’s power seems inexhaustible. His power is even spilling over into the Land of Greenery and Land of Fountains as well. Filia says the Power of Destruction is getting stronger purely due to Akudaikaan’s rage. Filia though has a plan.

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The four girls can barely hold out against Akudaikaan. Moop and Fuup want to help but Michiru and Kaoru convince them to stay back. When the two leave they spot Gohyaan standing back and watching the fight with the carafe. He doesn’t notice the two of them.

Akudaikaan still doesn’t understand why they’re fighting. And I have to give credit to his VA, Takayuki Godai. This guy is amazing. He’s not a professional VA really and seems to be most known for his work in jidaigeki. And he just brings such an imposing voice to Akudaikaan and so much wrath to his lines and everything. He just draws out the most anger and emotion from every line possible. The sermonizing Akudaikaan does is great this episode, it actually carries weight and meaning too. The banter between him and the girls is so good and has real emotion behind it as well as the strongly developed themes of Splash Star. They all tell him he’s wrong and reject his assertations. Bright admits that life is short and they’ll all die one day but life is still precious exactly because of that.

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SUBS PLEASE

He’s fed up with talking and prepares to unleash all of his power in one attack. Bright and Windy are initially worried but Michiru and Kaoru have their backs. They will meet his attack head on and win, because they can change destiny with their own power and refuse to be destroyed.

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Akudaikaan also throws his final attack like a softball pitch for some reason. Anyways the two incredibly powerful attacks clash between them and Dark Fall is actually lit up because of their power.

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Akudaikaan is still overpowering them with his attack, which grows larger and larger, and Gohyaan is pleased. Sure that the fight is soon to end. But then he notices a strange light filtering in from above, pouring into Dark Fall.

Korone, Filia, and all the spirits from the Land of Fountains are sending their power to Pretty Cure. Their wishes to help Pretty Cure became feelings, which became power and Filia is now sending it directly into Dark Fall. Just like how Michiru and Kaoru were brought back, among other things, the strong feelings of people and spirits can become an all new power. The light gives the girls the strength to push back Akudaikaan’s attack and they hit him with the spirit bomb. It causes massive damage to his body and the bright light from it temporarily blinds Gohyaan, allowing Moop and Fuup to grab the carafe as Akudaikaan collapses to the ground. Seemingly defeated.

Moop and Fuup bring the carafe to the girls but then…

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Akudaikaan rises and prepares to attack again. But his chest breaks open and it’s revealed that he’s completely hollow inside. He unleashes more lightning and dark power indiscriminately, not even seeming to realize what’s happened, and causing extensive damage to Dark Fall. He’s clearly completely lost it.

Gohyaan then comes in and attacks him. Trying to get him to calm down. But Akudaikaan has lsot all rational thought. He tells Gohyaan that he’ll destroy everything, and he means everything, the Land of Greenery, the Land of Fountains, and Dark Fall as well. His insanity has reached its peak. After Akudaikaan then attempts to attack him Gohyaan goes down to that little purple flame in the middle of Dark Fall that’s still been burning all this time.

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Gohyaan begins to smother the flame and this immediately causes Akudaikaan to writhe in agony. Gohyaan slowly torments him as he crushes the flame, Akudaikaan shrinks and eventually disappears entirely. Gohyaan has just killed him. That inconspicuous flame was actually Akudaikaan’s lifeforce.

Michiru and Kaoru and Pretty Cure wonder what just happened so Gohyaan explains to them. Akudaikaan was useless now so Gohyaan got rid of him, he created Akudaikaan after all anyways. Akudaikaan was his tool to destroy the world and then Gohyaan would take it all afterwards. He’s the mastermind behind everything and the one who caused all of this destruction and hardship in the first place. Which of course also makes him the true source of the Power of Destruction.

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Well. That’s bad news.

He turns into his true form (or possibly just his battle form) and prepares for the final showdown. He gets rid of the collapsing Dark Fall in one energy wave and transports everyone to the Land of Greenery. Specifically to the beach of Saki and Mai’s town. There’s almost nowhere else more fitting for the fight to start.

Gohyaan being the true villain is foreshadowed heavily and makes complete sense. It also makes him the best main villain in the franchise. Ever since the mid-season climax he’s been hinted to be far more powerful than initially let on, since episode two it was apparent he was more knowledgeable about basically everything than Akudaikaan. He stole the carafe and knew exactly how to corrupt it and use it for his own ends as well. He doesn’t fit anywhere in the elemental theming of Splash Star nor does he have a corresponding Fountain so the only thing remaining is him to be the representation of destruction itself. But what’s really great about this reveal is that if you watched Futari Wa you should be able to guess the truth from the very beginning. Scroll up and look at the Uzainaa in the first episode. Now think about the Zakenna. The Zakenna look like small Dark King’s don’t they? Collections of evil purple energy. Now tell me, does that Uzainaa look anything like Akudaikaan? Hell no it doesn’t. The Uzainaa resemble Gohyaan. In every single episode, because Uzainaa appear in the opening as well, Splash Star is hinting to you that Gohyaan is the true villain and power behind everything. What really makes Gohyaan the best villain though isn’t this foreshadowing it’s that he has a real personality and character, he’s entertaining and the kind of asshole that makes it extremely satisfying to see Pretty Cure fight him. Throughout the whole season he’s been a jerk and been directly responsible for the biggest problems and saddest moments of the season. He mocks every other character and becomes that perfect villain who you like seeing and maybe even love to hate and really want to finally get his. What also sets him apart from the other main villains of the franchise is presence. He has so much more screentime and direct participation in events than every other major villain. His smarmy mean character is highlighted through all of this and it just pushes him above and beyond other villains in the franchise.

And oh yeah the final fight against him is the best in the franchise too.

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The final battle between Pretty Cure and evil is about to begin. Korone and Filia can sense the girls are in danger and run to help them.

It’s a very exciting and fast paced fight first, great close quarters combat and fighting in the sky. It’s so different from the one against Akudaikaan because no one cares about Gohyaan. Michiru and Kaoru aren’t trying to convince him to stop, all 4 of them hate him and are going all out and brawling. Gohyaan kicks Bright and Windy across the city and throws Michiru and Kaoru into the ocean before letting out a loud victory cry. But the girls come back from this and in a nice moment similar to the one all the way back in episode 2 Bright and Windy gather their power around them and jump into the sky. At the same time Michiru and Kaoru shoot out of the ocean and the four of them collide with Gohyaan. Bright and Windy pull off massively powerful versions of their wind and light attacks, Windy creating a whirlwind to keep Gohyaan pinned down while Bright flies high into the sky and gathers all her energy into a light blast that puts every previous one to shame. After her performance this episode Bright/Bloom is a strong contender for strongest Pretty Cure of all time.

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Gohyaan though is still just way too strong. He survives this without a scratch and blasts all four of them into the ground. After they still refuse to tell him anything about the Fountain of the Sun he prepares to eradicate them for good. Korone and Filia arrive jsut in time to stop him though. Filia tries to use the power of the carafe against Gohyaan but he ends up blasting it into the ocean. Then something strange happens.

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The carafe and ocean begin to glow. Gohyaan sees this and realizes where the Fountain of the Sun is. Turns out the ocean itself is the Fountain. The ocean is the source of all life on Earth and Filia hid it there. This also makes sense, it kind of has foreshaodwing through all the fights at the beach that take place there and other important events and also makes sense just because every fountain is a pool of water as well. The destroyed fountains were small dried up lakes so it makes sense that a healthy fountain already is a large body of water. I also like how Filia doesn’t have that much power. Even with the carafe back there’s no relying on her to do anything or to defeat the villain like the Queen of Light could. She just isn’t that powerful and it’s still mainly up to Pretty Cure.

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Gohyaan then makes this gigantic black hole like energy ball and sends it down into the ocean, planning to kill the Fountain of the Sun. The Fountain of the Sun is the strongest fountain that presides over the others, this will cause the World Tree and other fountains to dry up and die. The fairies also tell Bright and Windy that this was the exact same power that wrecked the Land of Fountains in the first place. When it hits the ocean we see what happened there. All of the spirits in the Land of Greenery start to get sucked into it. Bright and Windy see this happening and pull out more power than ever before, they fire off a powered up Spiral Star Splash at the black hole bomb but Gohyaan blocks it. It gives him a little trouble but soon enough the power of the spirits weakens because of the damage to the Fountain of the Sun and all the spirits being sucked up. Their attack dissipates and they lose their transformation as Gohyaan declares victory.

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I love apocalyptic scenes like this in Pretty Cure finales

The Land of Greenery has been turned into a ruined world. The flowers are dead, the birds are gone, very soon the wind will no longer blow and the light will never shine again.

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Boy, this is appropriate for a kids show

Saki and Mai can do nothing right now so Michiru and Kaoru use their power to defend against Gohyaan. Except that with Akudaikaan’s flame of life gone the source of Michiru and Kaoru’s lives is gone as well. All they have left is the small amount of power inside of them and when that dries up they’ll disappear. But the two of them unhesitatingly use this power to continue protecting Saki and Mai, Gohyaan blasts them but they shield themselves and fly off to the withered Sky Tree.

Saki and Mai are in tears over their failure to protect anyone. Michiru and Kaoru are on the verge of collapsing but are still happy that they used their powers to try and save the Land of Greenery and Saki and Mai’s lives. However the tears of Saki and Mai that fall to the ground makes Flappi notice something. A small presence of spirits still there.

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“Everything has a life inside of it”. Saki remembers the words of her father, Flappi and Choppi tell them that even though things might be gone now there’s still a place for them to be born again. Moop and Fuup tell them the wind can still blow and the the moon is surely still behind the clouds overhead. It’s such a perfect scene. Saki and Mai as Bloom and Egret drew upon the powers of the land and sky, which are still there, and the words of Saki’s father we learned from episode one come back so strongly here. Everything in Splash Star about the value and beauty of the world comes to a head here.

Saki and Mai think about their precious people, Minori, Kazuya, Kenta, everyone, and how they want to protect and see them again. They ask all the remaining spirits in the world to lend them their strength. The dead Sky Tree lights up and the power gathers through Flappi, Choppi, Moop, and Fuup.

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Saki and Mai transform back into Bloom and Egret while Michiru and Kaoru get new forms based on the power of the Moon and Wind. It’s almost like it was always meant to be. They say they’ll take back the beautiful world that enriches their lives.

And Gohyaan is right there staring them down.

To me the end of episode 48 of Splash Star is the single best scene in any season. I just love it. The themes of the show come together perfectly, the music is perfect, the emotion is great, it’s just so good.

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The final episode begins with Gohyaan noticing the new powers of the heroines. Seeing they won’t be giving up he prepares to annihilate them completely. What follows is a short beatdown as even with their new powers it seems the girls aren’t a match for him. Gohyaan then tells them a little bit about himself and what his final goal is. He’s a being that existed before the Universe as we know it, when it was quiet and nothing else was around, then he witnessed the Big Bang and all the events that followed. He hates how the Universe has become because of life and everything else and seeks to destroy it all and return to the quiet eternity he had. It’s a pretty interesting and serious backstory and it gives this sense of total alienness to Gohyaan. Of course none of the children watching this show would know what the hell he was talking about. But it fits. Bloom, however, gives voice to those children and basically just tells him how she isn’t taking any of his shit. Pretty Cure doesn’t give a shit about his reason to destroy the world, they’re protecting it. They want to live. Everything Gohyaan says to them is irrelevant and disregarded. All they care about is making sure that life isn’t destroyed by him.

They counterattack and knock him to the ground, Michiru and Kaoru using their elemental powers as well. The four of them hit him with a combined barrage that looks like they might have finished it.

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Of course this all just made Gohyaan mad and he thrashes them and unleashes his power to completely destroy the world. Man, I thought what happened last episode was bad but this is on a whole nother level.

Gohyaan thinks he’s finished it this time but the girls continue to get up much to his surprise and confusion. He’s just destroyed the world so how can they still have hope in their victory? Saki mentions how she has to win the softball tournament next year, she promised Izumida after all, Michiru talks about wanting to bake bread, Kaoru says she wants to draw pictures that make people smile like Minori’s and Mai’s. Choppi wants to live in the Land of Fountains and Flappi wants to tell Choppi about his feelings for her. Mai wants to draw Saki and everyone else’s smiles and fill up more skecthbooks with pictures of the future. They all want to continue living their lives, they want to have a future, they focus on everything they want to do when they’re out of this mess. They continue to stand against Gohyaan.

In complete consternation he creates another black hole bomb and prepares to fling it at them. Bloom, Egret, Michiru, Kaoru, Flappi, CHoppi, Moop, and Fuup combine their powers together, drawing on everything they’ve got and putting it into one final attack. The powers of flower, sky, moon and wind combine as one into Pretty Cure Spiral Heart-

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Gohyaan holds it back briefly, telling them that his power is infinite and they can’t possibly do anything. His Power of Destruction will destroy them. But Bloom blasts back and tells him that some things just can’t be destroyed. All of the girls won’t let Gohyaan destroy their hope or their futures. Spiral Heart Splash Star grows brighter and stronger, so bright it reminds Gohyaan of the Big Bang.

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When he sees this he knows he can’t hold back their attack anymore. Spiral Heart Splash Star completely overpowers his Power of Destruction and crashes into Gohyaan, immediately starting to turn him into nothingness.

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Even with this though Gohyaan refuses to give up fully. Using the last of his power he charges through the attack to Bloom and Egret, trying to destroy them at least. Michiru and Kaoru grab on trying to save them and Gohyaan realizes that he can’t kill them. The power they have is too strong even for him to overcome. He despondently realizes that their bond of hope has beaten him. He then disintegrates fully, leaving nothing behind. It’s an incredibly final and drawn out death. And much more satisfying than what happened to the Dark King all 3 times and what happens to every other villain as well. A final attack that reminds the villain of the Big Bang. Nothing else comes close.

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After Gohyaan’s death the spirits and carafe return and the Land of Greenery is returned to normal. The World Tree and Land of Fountains have completely revived too and the girls see that the Sky Tree and World Tree were connected, that’s what was so special about the Sky Tree. Filia then leaves Korone and he returns to being a normal cat.

Michiru and Kaoru are happy everything is back to normal but they then collapse. The Power of Destruction is gone as well as any last bits of power inside of them. But they have no regrets. Saki and Mai can’t accept this though. They and the fairies cry over them, wishing they won’t die. Michiru and Kaoru start to disappear but the spirits of the Land of Greenery gather. The spirits wish for Michiru and Kaoru to live as well. Filia gathers their power with the carafe and pours it into Michiru and Kaoru. Keeping them alive for good now.

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Filia tells them that the Universe was once dark and lonely just like Gohyaan said but that the birth of stars and life made it a much brighter and better place. She calls them “Friends under the starry sky” the starry sky that gave birth to everything in a previously dark world. Spiral Heart Splash Star reminding Gohyaan of the Big Bang has so much symbolism because of this, it makes Pretty Cure represent all life and everything that has been created since the darkness. Everything fighting against Gohyaan. Filia then disappears and we learn that she’s the spirit of the World Tree itself. And we then get a lovely and perfect montage  showing what happens next as the first ending theme song plays over it.

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The fairies always wanted to return to the Land of Fountains and live there so we get a sweet tearful farewell between them all after Michiru and Kaoru visit the restored Fountain of the Sky. It’s just so wonderful in the rest of the montage to see things like Michiru learning to bake bread, Kaoru drawing, and all of them just leading normal lives. Michiru and Kaoru get to live their lives to the fullest now in the Land of Greenery.

Splash Star ends with Saki at next years softball finals. And Izumida and all her friends from school watching her. Flappi, Choppi, Moop and Fuup are also coming to watch (no one said they’d never come visit sometimes), Flappi and Choppi being a couple now after Flappi finally confessed his feelings apparently.

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Before the game starts Mai comes down to meet with Saki. The two of them hold hands just like they always did. It’s what makes them feel most comfortable and always allows Saki to be on top form.

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Looks like it worked too. After this we get to listen to Ganbalance de Dance one more time with a different sort of montage going over a bunch of separate and important scenes across the season while the ending plays. And that’s the end of the best season of Pretty Cure. There’s no ending as satisfying and well-rounded as this one. There are no loose ends or anything and everything is very final. Gohyaan blows up Dark Fall and is then eradicated completely. Splash Star’s world does not lend itself well to a sequel to begin with and everything about this ending works to make it closed. Despite the poor sales and ratings to it Splash Star was a consistently great show and its consistency combined with the excellent writing and well developed themes allowed it to have the best finale of any season. Every season of Pretty Cure builds towards its finale and naturally that should be the best part of any season. It isn’t always but it’s certainly the case with Splash Star. When the final attack is yelled out everything is right in the world. This is one of my favorite anime of all time and I could watch it again and again.

It might be a little sad that the Pretty Cure franchise technically peaked so early but even if subsequent seasons can’t overall match up to Splash Star they all bring something different and enjoyable and even the bad ones have their good points. But Splash Star was the end of the original Pretty Cure idea. This will always be sad but at least it went out with a bang.

 

R.I.P. Miyu Matsuki, voice of Choppi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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